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New Push On Climate Change; Poll: Skeptical of Obama Economy; FDA Questions An Aspirin A Day; Did Jesus Have A Wife?

Aired May 6, 2014 - 07:30   ET

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


JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": Chris, Kate, Michaela, good morning to you. A lot to cover "Inside Politics". Let's get right to it.

With me to share their reporting and their insights this morning, Julie Pace of the Associated Press, Ron Fournier of "The National Journal".

Julie, the president will be outside the White House today talking not to White House correspondents, not to Sunday show hosts, but to meteorologists and weather correspondents around the country to push his agenda for climate change.

Now the president is going to use executive authority to do most of what he wants to do. The former chief of staff now helping this president in the White House, made a rare appearance to say yesterday if Republicans in Congress try to pass legislation to stop the president, they will fail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN PODESTA, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: They will find various ways particularly in the House to try to stop us from using the authority we have under the clean air act. All I would say is those have zero percent chance of working.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: From a political standpoint, I have to say, it's good to see him back at the podium. What do they hope to accomplish? If the president has this power with his pen through executive authority and this issue is so important to him, why do they wait so long? Why not do this in the first term? Why not do this in the first week?

JULIE PACE, "ASSOCIATED PRESS": That's a question we have been asking about a lot of issues when the White House talks about the year of action that they are having. If these things are so important, why didn't you do them earlier? On climate, there's some interesting politics in the Democratic Party when it comes to climate change.

You have people who are up for re-election on the Democratic side in the Senate who are from states like Louisiana, where talking about renewable energy, new types of power like solar doesn't really play well when they have oil-driven states. We're expecting from the White House this year some regulations in June on power plants.

That's one of the things that Podesta is talking about the Senate trying to block. There could be some other things that they are going to move down the line. They've tried to avoid putting specifics and how broad and sweeping this will be or will these be small measures.

KING: The president tries to move forward on this. Mary Landrieu from Louisiana, a tough race. They will look for chances here to stand up to the president and not help the president, right?

RON FOURNIER, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": That's part of the problem. The president has missed an opportunity to really seize one of the most important issues facing our globe. He's let politics get in the way. When you talked to him privately, his job is to educate the public to create a sense of urgency and have a common set of facts in the public so the next president and the president after that can accomplish this problem. Why didn't he start sooner?

KING: We'll see how he does. It's a critical issue for the globe. It's primary day today. North Carolina is the race the Republican establishment is watching the most. Thom Tillis is the speaker of the North Carolina House. He is the establishment favorite. You see Kay Hagan on the left. She is the incumbent Democrat. What Republicans are hoping for is if Thom tillis gets 40 today, they can immediately start focusing on Kay Hagan.

But it's a crowded field and the effort to keep Thom Tillis below 40 percent, great reporting in "The Washington Post" this morning. Kay Hagan voted for the health care law. But she is sending an attack mailing to voters in North Carolina saying that Thom Tillis once said nice things about the health care law. So she was for it and now she's using it as a weapon to keep Tillis below 40 so they are fighting themselves and not her.

FOURNIER: Politics at its best or worst, depending on how you look at it. We have seen it on both sides of the fence.

KING: That's a good way to put it. Also on the ballot today, Clay Aiken. He's in the primary in a House district as well. Peter Hamby is on the ground in North Carolina. He will be with us tomorrow as we go "Inside Politics." I want to move now to the bigger climate for the Midterm elections. We've talked about it a lot. Sometimes when we talk about these poll numbers and the tough environment for the president and Democrats, I get e-mails or tweets suggesting we're making this up or that we're all in the Republican tank.

I just want to do this. It's a bit redundant, but we have a new CNN poll out today that supports a poll we were talking about yesterday. The president's approval rating at 43 percent in the new CNN poll. We have seen him at 41, 42, 43, low to mid-40s. This is what's driving the election climate.

How are economic conditions in the country today? Thirty eight percent say good, 62 percent say poor. That's not just Republicans. That's a lot of Democrats and a lot of independents who feel like they are treading water. PACE: That really -- you can talk about all kinds of issues that have come up. You can talk about health care and the government shutdown, but the economy is always the most important issue for Americans. And when you look at jobs numbers, you look at the stock market and tend so see some things moving in positive directions that means very little to a lot of Americans. Even people who have jobs and haven't lost their jobs aren't feeling wages go up. They are feeling that their financial situation has gotten tighter. The numbers reflect what the White House is grappling with and what the Democrats are grappling with.

KING: If the numbers stay relative, if I look at a president at 43, 62 percent say the economy is poor, I see the Republicans pick up 12 seats in the House and probably the Senate.

FOURNIER: It's a fact. If you look at all of history and all of political science with the numbers like that, the Democrats are going to have a terrible year.

KING: We also have some brand new numbers releasing this morning on NEW DAY. On the 2016 presidential field, look at this Democrats. Choice for president, Hillary Clinton, way above. We won't even show you the other names. She was at 70 percent when we asked this question in January. Now she's at 64 percent. So she's come down a tad. My take is she's in the news almost every day. People are talking about her as a candidate so she's now a politician. That takes a little bit of luster off. Is that enough of a drop to convince a Democrat to challenge her?

FOURNIER: No, the closer we get to the election, the more her numbers will come down. If she has nobody running against her, she will be fine. You have to have a lot of guts to run against her. I think in this environment, nobody is untouchable. I think she could be beat even in a primary. It's hard to see who is coming in.

KING: She has to remember she was inevitable once, it's called 2007. One of the interesting things and we saw more of it, a lot of people think the president is in her camp, not in her vice president's camp.

PACE: Every time that Hillary Clinton was mentioned by the president of the United States, it was as if she was the inevitable nominee. Every time Joe Biden came up, it was as if he's the clear second choice. So hard to look at that any other way.

FOURNIER: The Biden people were not happy.

KING: More fascinating to me, look at the Republican numbers. They tell you there's no front runner in a party that normally has an orderly line of secession. Jeb Bush at 13 percent. Rand Paul at 13 percent. Mike Huckabee at 10 then the list goes on. The thing that strikes me about this is Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Mike Huckabee, it's 35 percent. All three of them might not run for different reasons. Rand Paul at 13 percent. In a party we could say there's the favorite.

FOURNIER: Christie's numbers. If it hadn't been for the bridge scandal, you know he'd be at the top of the list. PACE: You know, I don't think this is terribly surprising over the last couple of years. The Republican Party is still searching for exactly what its platform is going to be. As that debate shakes out over the next year, we'll see the numbers start to crystallize around someone.

KING: You can't pick a who unless you know what you're about. The Republican race is wide open. As we end, Jeff Toobin pushed aside as we get back to Chris, Kate and Michaela in New York, here's our new chief Supreme Court correspondent, Seth Myers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SETH MYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT": The Supreme Court ruled today that public prayer, public prayer can be used to open official government meetings. That makes sense. A lot of people like to pray right before they go to sleep.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Not bad, right? Pretty good. We need a laugh every morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. We need more than one laugh every morning. Thank you for contributing to our laugh factor. Thanks, John.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up on NEW DAY, what do we got?

BOLDUAN: An aspirin a day is supposed to keep heart attacks at bay, but the FDA now says that advice is not for everyone. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is joining us to talk about who should be taking aspirin?

CUOMO: And provocative question, did Jesus have a wife? I know you have a take, but is there any proof a tiny piece could be a Christianity game changer. Is it a fake? We'll show you and tell you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. New questions this morning about aspirin and heart attacks. Many of us have heard for a long time that taking an aspirin a day could prevent a heart attack, but a new decision by the FDA suggests it might not be that simple. We put Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the case. He's at the CNN Center with more. So Sanjay, first of all, good morning.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

PEREIRA: Has the thinking changed or why the back and forth?

GUPTA: You know, the thinking hasn't changed, but that's what's so interesting. What happened here is that the makers of aspirin, Bayer, they put a petition saying we want to be able to put on our bottles that this product, aspirin, can prevent a heart attack and what they came back and said, this has been going on for some time, they have been looking at the data trying to give Bayer an answer. And said, look, bottom line is that we don't think it actually prevents a first heart attack. If someone has already had a heart attack or stroke or known history of heart disease, they may be a candidate for aspirin. Not just for everybody as a preventive medicine.

PEREIRA: So Doctor, put your professor hat on and tell us how the aspirin works and what it does in the body.

GUPTA: It's actually quite interesting. You know, we take aspirin for granted. It comes from the bark of the willow tree. But what's fascinating is that our bodies are constantly in a state of clotting and not clotting. Clots are forming and clots are going away. What happens -- the concern is someone with heart disease could one of those clots actually cause a blockage of the blood vessel. It throws it to the non-clotting side. You're likely to bleed more and prevent the clots from forming.

PEREIRA: I'm never going to look at a willow tree the same way, Sanjay. I had no idea. What led to the FDA sort of releasing this reminder and say let's take another look at this.

GUPTA: Well, it really was this petition from Bayer Aspirin. They say, look, we looked at the data. There's lots of studies on this. Does aspirin prevent first heart attacks and all that? We just don't think the data is strong enough. By the way, they say there's a little bit of a benefit, but there is also a little more of a risk. So this is a classic risk benefit sort of analysis.

PEREIRA: Well, bottom line, there's folks at home right now with their cup of coffee and their morning pills. Who should be taking an aspirin a day?

GUPTA: I should point out, there are different societies still recommending different things. So it is confusing. The preventative task force said all men between the ages of 45 and 79, and all women between the ages of 55 and 79 should take aspirin. Even if you have no history of heart disease. I used to take a baby aspirin a day. I'm 44 years old. What the FDA is saying I shouldn't take it unless I have any history of heart disease in my own body, not family history.

Probably the same thing like Chris Cuomo. He probably does not need to take aspirin right now. I know he has a family history of heart disease, but unless he has a problem himself, he wouldn't need it.

CUOMO: I appreciate that you're looking out for him. He doesn't do the same for you.

GUPTA: A lot of people have to.

PEREIRA: It takes a village.

CUOMO: There's the hate.

PEREIRA: It takes a village.

GUPTA: I know who the real is. Everybody likes you so much.

PEREIRA: Bottom line, make sure you check with your medical profession is your best course of action, correct, Sanjay?

GUPTA: Absolutely. People take aspirin for granted, but it increases bleeding, gastric ulcers, it's something you should talk to your doctor about.

PEREIRA: All right, thanks so much, Dr. Sanjay Gupta from the CNN Center. He slipped in when his birthday is so we can plan the party.

BOLDUAN: Nothing is an accident. It was all planned. This was also planned to be an intervention with Chris.

CUOMO: We don't have enough time. The list is so long.

BOLDUAN: Part two of that interview coming up after the break.

CUOMO: I'm on so many pills. I don't even know which one is the aspirin anymore.

BOLDUAN: Vitamins and gummy bears.

CUOMO: Sanjay has generations of my family loving him. My mom, my wife, my kids, everybody loves him.

BOLDUAN: I can't handle all this love.

PEREIRA: He loves every bit of it. Look at the grin on his face.

CUOMO: His words threatening my health.

GUPTA: Who is the real Chris Cuomo?

BOLDUAN: That's the actual focus of the documentary I will be unveiling in November. Just kidding.

CUOMO: I didn't recognize him without the weed behind him.

BOLDUAN: Would you stop. He's just jealous because Chris has not won the award that Sanjay has for the weed documentaries.

CUOMO: His words get me right here and there's no pill that can save that.

BOLDUAN: It's OK, Christopher.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, was Jesus married? An ancient scrap of history says so, but is it worth what it's printed on? Get the story, straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it's utterly unique, it made me first doubt whether the papyrus fragment might be authentic. Once we finally came to the decision that it said, Jesus said to them, my wife -- it was really an astonishing moment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Just the word papyrus is compelling. A clip from the documentary "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife," which premiered last night on Smithsonian Channel. It centers around the discovery of an ancient relic that suggests Jesus had a wife, plain and simple. New evidence shows the centuries' old document may be a forgery. Let's feel it out.

Let's bring in Michael Pepparb, a professor of theology at Fordham University. Great to have you, professor. The first question before we get to the actual document, 33 years old, during that time, called rabbi, which was a term of respect for an elder. Should Jesus have had a wife?

MICHAEL PEPPARD, THEOLOGY PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Right. I don't think that Jesus was married and I don't think that's a pious answer, or one coming out of religion, but out of historical plausibility. He was an itinerate man, apocalyptic preacher and controversial things to say about marriage and family life that people needed to leave behind their father and mother to follow him, for example.

So I do not think Jesus was historically married. I don't think we have good evidence for that along with John the Baptist and other folks like him. We can't know for sure these kind of things and new evidence is interesting for us.

CUOMO: So we get to the proof -- ta-da -- what do you see in this?

PEPPARD: Sure. What do I see? A coptic fragment. A language of early ancient Egypt and Christianity flourished in Egypt very much from the second century up until today. A fragment with sayings about family relations.

CUOMO: Is this a language that you recognize?

PEPPARD: I certainly recognize the language of coptic. Yes.

CUOMO: That says CNN? Is that problem, or no?

PEPPARD: CNN. You know what? We missed that in our analysis earlier.

CUOMO: CNN.

PEPPARD: Now, breaking news, here on CNN. What I would say is that this document looks unprofessional. At a glance of someone who study the coptic, we thought it looked unprofessional. It does not necessarily mean fake because there are a lot of unprofessional handwriting. It's a skill acquired.

CUOMO: And not easy to figure it out, right? What else do you look for here?

PEPPARD: The main line everyone was focusing on was this one right here.

CUOMO: If I advance it, I think we'll know what the quote is, right?

PEPPARD: Yes.

CUOMO: That line supposedly says, Jesus said my wife, she will be able to be my disciple.

PEPPARD: No doubt, those terms are there. What we don't have is the context of what surrounds this text. So initially people said, well, it could say Jesus said to them, my wife is the church, or my wife is my community of followers, or my wife is Mary Magdalene. We don't know what it said.

CUOMO: A lot of people said that about Mary Magdalene. She got implicated in the gnostic gospels, a whole division of Christianity themselves. They didn't want you to know those people.

PEPPARD: One positive thing to take from all this, it directs people to some of the texts of the gospel of Mary and others.

CUOMO: So the big question becomes do you believe this papyrus is authentic. What suggests it is not.

PEPPARD: We have been very busy this week especially a couple folks in Germany. An American scholar and a Romanian did a lot of work analyzing this fragment over here. What this is, is a second fragment that was part of the anonymous donor's collection. A gospel of John fragment in coptic and we were told a year and a half or so about this this is a run of the mill fragment we have lots of. When this one went up online a couple weeks ago, on Harvard's web site, that was the first they had seen this. They have shown definitively this one is a forgery.

CUOMO: That Harvard had it? Yale, would have been much more legit?

PEPPARD: We won't make this a Yale/Harvard thing. Least not today. I have great respect for a world class scholar, and others who saw it with their own eyes were great scholars as well. I am not here to criticize them. What I want to show is just one spot here. You can see there's a hole in this fragment and you can see a word is written kind of around the hole. This little n is underneath the hole. On the other side of the fragment, I presume in forger wrote right through the hole. We have really usual scribal practice that I don't think any of us have seen another example of, something like that.

CUOMO: The same donor gave you something that he said or she said was legit. You've found out it is not, which, of course, casts doubt on this on top of everything else about it, so you don't buy it?

PEPPARD: That's right. All the pieces that seemed to be dubious at first were now more dubious than we before.

CUOMO: Made manifest by the fact that its source collection is also seen to be problematic.

PEPPARD: Right. The prominance is the question going forward. Who is this donor? Do we need to know more about this person? Are there other forgeries we need to be concerned about?

CUOMO: Historically, this document, supposed to be a big aha we probably don't believe and the plural of pooh papyrus is papyri.

PEPPARD: Indeed, you didn't know that already?

CUOMO: Of course I did. No, I have no clue. Professor, thank you very much. Appreciate that.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY -- returning to one of the big stories we've been watching throughout the morning, throughout this week, really. The U.S. promising help in the desperate search for hundreds of kidnapped young girls in Nigeria. They were taken by an al Qaeda-linked terror group. The girls have been missing now for three weeks. Will they be found? What can we do? Live in Nigeria with the very latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)