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Critics: North Carolina Law Endangers Transgender Citizens; Clinton, Sanders Battle Over New York Debate Date; Final Four Down to the Final Two. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 3, 2016 - 07:30   ET



[07:32:36] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So, up next, Wisconsin, of course. Primaries a couple of days away. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump holding two events in Wisconsin today. A win here would give him much needed momentum in the delegate race, although he's still ahead. However, he is trailing Senator Ted Cruz in recent polls by 10 points.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are trading barbs this morning over a potential debate in New York. Each side says, look, they're offering potential dates, but the other team won't commit. One option proposed is a morning debate, very creative you would think. So far, though, nothing's been settled. The New York primary is still more than two weeks away. So there is time I guess is what we are saying.

Let's turn to North Carolina and this law that has so many people talking, particularly critics who say it endangers transgender people.

BLACKWELL: Yes, there are those rallying to support the legislation as well. Now, you've heard from lawmakers. You've heard from lawyers from both sides actually.

Our Nick Valencia joins us now with a new perspective. Nick is live for us this morning.

Nick, I know you spoke with a transgender woman who says that this could put her in physical danger, potential for physical harm.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. And to the tens of thousands of transgender people here in the state of North Carolina, they say it goes much further than what restroom that they're going to be allowed to use. Under this new law, they're going to be -- they're going to have to use the restroom related to the gender on their birth certificate, not necessarily how they identify.

Supporters of this legislation say the LGBT community, they should not be given special rights.


VALENCIA (voice-over): It's Saturday in Raleigh, North Carolina, and this is a midday drag show, a fundraiser for LGBT awareness.

EMCEE: The one and only, Ms. Candis Cox!


VALENCIA: Candis Cox is the woman of the hour.

CANDIS COX, TRANSGENDER WOMAN: But the most important thing for me personally is that every time I close my eyes and I say a prayer and I ask my God, as the person of faith, how he feels, he doesn't seem to have a problem with it and my parents have no problem with it and their opinion matters to me.

VALENCIA: Cox is transgender.

COX: Black transwomen in North Carolina used to being sad. So, just back in my back, though, not in my eye.

VALENCIA: She says she's one of the tens of thousands of transgendered people in North Carolina affected by the Public Facility's Privacies and Securities Act.

[07:35:02] It's a new state law that requires transpeople to use the public restroom related to the gender on their birth certificate. Now how they identify.

COX: This law affects us because it put us in danger and it is open discrimination. It is no different than the Jim Crowe laws that we have here in the South.

VALENCIA: At home, Candis and her husband Adam Daniel say, now that she'll be required to use the men's room, they worry she'll be physically assaulted or worse.

PAUL STAM (R), NORTH CAROLINA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Most of the people do not understand what the bill actually does.

VALENCIA: State Republican Pro Temp Paul Stam is one of the bill's sponsors. Stam says the law is not about limiting the protections of the LGBT community but rather not giving them special rights.

STAM: We have lots of accommodations in the bill for those in special circumstances. But we are trying to protect the reasonable expectations of privacy of 99.9 percent of our citizens who think when they are going into a restroom or changing room or locker room that they will be private.

VALENCIA (on camera): That's you as a boy.

COX: Yes.

VALENCIA: Nineteen surgeries, two trips to Thailand and more than a hundred thousand dollars later, Cox is post-op transgender, though her birth certificate says she's a man, she's with the trans community would call "passable" as the woman but she says that doesn't make it any easier. COX: We're all literally the same and we're all fighting for the same

thing. We all just want to be accepted and we want to know that we're not going to be discriminated against.


VALENCIA: There are a laundry list of businesses across the country who say they are going to stop doing business with the state of North Carolina or boycott them. I've spoken to Republican lawmakers here and they say those are veiled threats. They don't believe that this law is going to have a detrimental economic impact on the state -- Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: So, Nick, let me ask you about Candis Cox who was introduced to in that story. This law has been on the books for about a week now. Has she avoided public facilities? Or does she plan to or not to follow this law?

VALENCIA: She says it hasn't really affected her so far. This law is specific to governmental restrooms. So, private businesses can allow people to have a transgender restroom, single occupancy restroom. It was written into this law so that transgender people who feel uncomfortable going into a men's restroom if they identify as a woman can go into the single occupancy facility.

The transgender communities say they deserve special rights. They need to be protected. They are a special group they think and they need to be -- to make sure that they're not physically assaulted. That's a big concern, Victor, is physical assaults, retaliations.

You know, talking to Candis. She says here, living in the south, there aren't people who are very open minded altogether. So, she's worried about going into a men's restroom which she hasn't used since 2003 and being assaulted or worse. And that's definitely a concern for her husband and the tens of thousand of other transgender people here in the community -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Nick Valencia there for us in Raleigh, Nick, thanks so much.

PAUL: So, Bernie Sanders example is saying that Hillary Clinton is just playing games. Hillary Clinton says the same thing about Bernie Sanders as well.

BLACKWELL: Yes, there is this back and forth. This duel over a possible debate in New York. A look at who could be winning this war?


[07:42:08] PAUL: Tonight at 9:00 Eastern, there's a new episode of the CNN original series, "RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE", which tells the vicious rematch between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams back in 1828.

BLACKWELL: Now, you may be surprised that malicious gossip, dirty tricks and backroom deals were just as common in politics back then as they are today.

CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash sat down with "House of Cards" executive producer, Dana Brunetti, who is also executive producer of "Race for the White House".


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What motivated you to do this project, to really dig in to this history?

DANA BRUNETTI, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, CNN'S "RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE": Well, I'm a history buff for one and the types of projects I've always done are amazing minds doing amazing things, and there's nothing more amazing than a presidential race and there's no more amazing minds I think in the world than the people that run those campaigns and the people that are involved on those campaigns.

BASH: It's kind of amazing, because with every election we've never seen it so dirty, we've never seen it so intense. But it's always been like that. Just that we know about it more because of the media.

BRUNETTI: Exactly. The elections have always been dirty and that is one thing I've learned. Even with Honest Abe.

The dirty tricks his campaign did that you would never think that Abraham Lincoln would be involved in something like that. And you also learn that the guys that were the nice guys that didn't want to go that route, they lost.

BASH: You and Kevin Spacey also produced "House of Cards".


BASH: Do you see parallels in that fiction versus all of this nonfiction you've been working on?

BRUNETTI: Yes. It is fascinating actually. The first season when we're doing "House of Cards", we thought maybe we're pushing it a little too far and then we go home and watch the news at night and, maybe we're not pushing it far enough.

So, yes, there are a lot of parallels we definitely take from the headlines a lot of what we incorporate into our show, while we -- it is fictional and we do push the boundaries a little further than what's probably realistic. Maybe, maybe not. But yes, we definitely -- there is a lot of -- there is definitely a lot of parallels between "House of Cards" and real life politics.


PAUL: So, a reckless outsider headed for victory. What can the Washington elite do to stop him? Jackson versus Adams, "RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE", tonight at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, they have already squared off several times, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. We've see them in the evening, but now, there is talk of instead of a 7:00 p.m. debate, maybe 7:00 a.m.? We'll talk about that.

PAUL: It's interesting, isn't it?

And we know most of the NCAA brackets are busted, but we're going to go live to Houston. Take a look at what's happening there, and talk about the vice president. He had a lot to say yesterday, and that's just about basketball.


[07:48:28] BLACKWELL: Twelve minutes to the top of the hour.

And in the discussion for the race for the White House, let's talk the Democrats now where there is a fiery debate over a debate. And the pressure is rising between the Clinton and Sanders' campaigns. They are each now calling the New York primary later this month a home state face-off and now, they're going back and forth over a possible debate before that primary.

Brian Stelter, host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", which I always watch, 11:00 Sundays Eastern. CNN's media correspondent, senior media correspondent, joins us now.

Brian, who's winning this so far?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I think at the moment, Clinton has Sanders on the defensive, which is a big change because one of the narratives of this primary election season has been that Sanders wants to debate and that Clinton is not quite so hot about debating. Of course, she's had the lead pretty much all the time, even though Sanders has picked up a number of states.

And so, for Clinton, it sometimes more of a risk to debate than it is for Sanders. So, all along, Sanders has been call for more debates, even back when Martin O'Malley was in the race, he joined with O'Malley and called for more debates. But now, in the past day, Clinton's really turned this around by coming out and listing a number of different options, dates that she would like to debate Sanders in New York.

And Sanders so far has said those are not suitable dates and is proposing other ones. So, there is a back and forth here and it goes to who has the advantage at the end of this New York primary. Of course, Sanders is widely expected to win in Wisconsin in a couple days. So, then, all eyes will be on New York and both campaigns notably crucial here.

[07:50:01] BLACKWELL: There was a really interesting proposition we've discussed this morning about the possibility of instead of doing another evening debates, starting at 8:00 or 9:00, doing one on a morning show.

STELTER: Yes, we were going to get to the last time the Dems debated in Flint.

BLACKWELL: Yes. STELTER: That was a number of weeks ago at this point. There hasn't been one since. One idea was to have a morning show debate on "Good Morning America" on ABC from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. The idea here was that if you're a network like ABC, you don't want to have to give up primetime unless you have to. "Scandal" and "Grey's Anatomy" are on in primetime, they don't like to preempt those kind of entertainment shows for news except for when they really have to. So, the idea was to give over "Good Morning America" for a debate instead.

ABC confirmed to me that the invitation was extended to both parties. Apparently, the Sanders campaign did not love that idea. So far, they've not committed to it. They say they're proposing other dates instead. They're also talk of a possible primetime debate on a cable news channel as well. So, there's a lot of options floating out there.

And right now, Clinton's sort of on the offense here, winning this debate about the debates as it goes on. But it's partly because Sanders wants to have big rallies, big events in New York. You know, one of the defining images of the Sanders campaign has been filling these ballrooms, filling these arenas and other venues with thousands of supporters. He would like to do that here in New York in the days leading up to the primary here.

And if he has to spend time preparing for a debate and then going to a debate, it takes away some of the time from the rallies. So, there's lots of interesting considerations here. We'll see what the candidates ultimately do. But keep in mind, when we're talking about the Democrats, there's been no GOP debate for a while either.

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes.

STELTER: So, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich not appearing on the same stage in a long time. Instead, they keep preferring these town hall formats on CNN and other channels.

BLACKWELL: All right. Brian Stelter, thank you so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: And catch Brian Stelter's show, "RELIABLE SOURCES" later today at 11:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: All righty. Well, what a night it was. We're looking forward to the final two taking you live to Houston. And Vice President Biden was there. He had a few things to say, didn't even have to about baseball. We'll talk about that.

Also, "Saturday Night Live" taking aim at Donald Trump. And what they're saying his flip-flopping on a controversial issue. We'll give you a look.

Stay close.


[07:55:44] PAUL: All righty. Basketball's final four down to the final two.

BLACKWELL: Andy Scholes live in Houston with this morning's bleacher report.

Not much sleep last night but a couple of good games to watch.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what, Victor, you know, in the NCAA tournament, sometimes, we get those nail-biters that come down to the very end and then in other times, we get what we got last night, both games blowouts.

Villanova, though, they put on a shooting exhibition for the ages against Oklahoma. They went 11 for 18 from three-point land. They shot a ridiculous 71 percent from the field in the game.

Oklahoma star Buddy Hield on the other hand, though, he picked a bad time to have his worst game of the tournament. The Wildcats able to hold him to just nine points as Villanova crushing Oklahoma 95-51, the biggest blowout in final four history, and Wildcats are now heading to a championship for the first time since 1985.


JAY WRIGHT, VILLANOVA HEAD COACH: That was just one of those games that could happen to anybody. I feel bad for Oklahoma that it happened to them in the final four. I'm happy we had one of those games. We just make every shot.

BUDDY HIELD, OKLAHOMA GUARD: They played really well today. It was one of the best teams I ever played in college. You know, just got to give them credit what they did. You know, they made it hard for us to guard them.


SCHOLES: The nightcap, one seed North Carolina having a little problem with ten seed Syracuse. Tar Heels had an 11-point lead by halftime. Syracuse just never able to make a serious run at them.

North Carolina wins 83-66. They're now one win away from their first title since 2009.

So, on Monday, it's going to be one seed North Carolina taking on two seed Villanova for the championship. Again, that's Monday night, 9:19 Eastern on TBS. The Tar Heels, two-point favorites in that game.

The Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, they were on hand here in Houston for the games last night, rooting on their schools. Vice President Biden, he graduated from the Syracuse College of Law, while Dr. Biden got her master's from Villanova. At least one of them got to home a winner last night.

Now, before the games, the VP joined the TBS pregame show and gave his thoughts on the current presidential race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's a lot to look forward in the country. The thing that bothers me about both the parties right now is there's not enough optimism. America's better positioned than any country in the world to control the 21st century, for real. And I just think these kids out here are going to see more change and more progress than any generation has ever seen.


SCHOLES: Good news and bad news for the Bidens. Bad news, Syracuse lost, so they're out. But the good news, they don't have to be a house divided come Monday night. They can both root for Dr. Jill Biden's alum, Villanova.

PAUL: All righty. Andy Scholes, have fun. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Before we leave you this morning, we want to show you this. "Saturday Night Live" took aim at Donald Trump and all of his clarifications and shifts of the last week.

PAUL: The guys on "Weekend Update," they had a field day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During an MSNBC town hall on Wednesday, Trump said women should be punished for getting abortions. Then an hour later, he said doctors should be punished. Then an hour after that, he said, we should just let the state decide. Then the next day, he said, "You know what? Let's just leave the laws alone", before finally saying yesterday, "When I'm president, I'm going to change those laws."

So, at this point, Donald Trump has to be pro-choice because he's made all of the choices.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Also, Donald Trump, how do you not already have a stock answer for an abortion question? You're on MSNBC. What did you think they were going to ask you? Their number one show is, "So what do you think about abortion?" And the answer is never "Women should be punished."

I don't care what the question is. You don't say that on TV. Even if you're on "Wheel of Fortune" and the board says "women should be unished," don't say it. How do you fall for that setup?


PAUL: Sometimes, you've just got to laugh at all of this, don't you?

BLACKWELL: And sometimes it's tough to laugh because we're talking about serious things.

PAUL: That's true. No response from Mr. Trump yet, but thank you so much for making us part of your morning.