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SMERCONISH

Facebook in Crisis Over User Data Harvest; Interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger; How is Melania Trump Weathering the Stormy Daniels Story. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired March 24, 2018 - 09:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:01:15]MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Well today big day, the anti gun March For Our Lives organized by the survivors of the recent shooting at the Marjory Stoneman High School. Protests in DC, here in Philadelphia and more than 800 other cities in America and abroad, but will it change anything?

And Facebook loosing both users and stock value in the wake of a scandal, data used to target voters during the election. Here's one lesson, be careful what you like online. I'll explain. Plus I just sat down with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He told me it's time for John Kasich to run for President starting right now. And no first lady has ever had to deal with this, dueling TV interviews with an Ex- Playboy Playmate, and an adult film star about their alleged affairs with the President.

So how is Melina weathering the Stormy? But first as 10's of thousands prepare to protest around the country in the March For Our Lives I want to ask if their efforts will be in vain? Said differently will America's gun culture ever change? It's a question I've been asking all week long at my website smerconish.com. And this week I did something special on my Sirius XM Radio program.

I set aside an hour each day to examine the gun culture in America. I called in aiming for facts. And the content included mostly new interviews plus some pulled from my archives all meant to address a different aspect of guns in America. And all sides were represented. My guests included John Lott the author of "More Guns, Less Crime" with his interpretation of gun data.

German Lopez from Vox who's published American gun violence explained in 17 maps and charts, which was part of the inspiration for me to dedicate an entire week to this issue. I feature Laurence Tribe the Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard who addressed whether repealing the second amendment is a realistic response to the Florida school shooting.

I re-aired interviews I'd conducted with the brother Nugent, Motor City mad man Ted, his older brother Jeffrey, a former CEO of Revlon. They disagreed rather spectacularly on the need for background checks. Dr. Amy Barnhorst was a guest. She the Vice Chairwoman of Community Psychiatry at UC Davis joined me to explain why she thinks mental health can not prevent mass shootings, the mental health system.

And I also welcomed Andrew Lee. He's a member of the Austrian Parliament on that often sighted Australian gun control measure. Here's the kicker. After all that and more, after five full hours of content and over a dozen guests the statistical result to my pole question never changed from Monday to Friday. Over 11,000 voters and I've got a 50/50 deadlock on this question. Will America's gun culture ever change?

So I want you to break the tie this hour. Go to smerconsih.com right now and answer that question and I will report back at the end of the hour. Joining me right now the afore mentioned German Lopez and John Lott. German I want to begin with you and your research. The data that you compiled under the headline America's unique gun violence problem, explained in 17 maps and charts, which unfortunately you have to keep updating every time there's a new shooting.

Among the data that you site this, America has 4.4 percent of the world's population. But almost half of the civilian owned around the world. You point out that America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, nearly 16 times as many as Germany. That since December of 2012 the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the US has had more than 16,000 mass shootings.

That's more than one per day. That states with more guns have more gun deaths. And that states with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun related deaths. It sounds German like it's not rocket science. We've got a disproportionate share of weapons in this country and consequently a disproportionate share of gun violence. Does that sum it up?

[09:05:00]

GERMAN LOPEZ, AMERICAN AUTHOR: Yes that sounds about right. I mean if you look at the research and data on this question the weight of the evidence suggests that when there are more guns there are simply more gun deaths. And one way that's useful to think about this is every country in the world has dispute. Has conflicts between people. People get into arguments with their family and what ever.

But when there are so many guns around it's a lot easier for those conflicts, those disputes to escalate into deadly violence. And this applies in all sorts of aspects of life. I mean we hear some incredible stories where people are like get into arguments and they turn deadly over somebody cutting in line over a restaurant. And things like that. And that's why essentially there are so many gun deaths in the US. Relative to other developed nations. It's just the abundance of guns makes it easy.

SMERCONISH: In other words in this country we don't have a monopoly on mental health issues. We don't have a monopoly with those with a propensity for violence. Those issues exist all around the globe. What we have according to the data is just a disproportionate share of weapons which in combination with the mental health issues and violence lead to gun violence. LOPEZ: That's right. Yes and I mean generally that's just what see in these numbers time and time again. I mean there are some studies that will dispute this but overall the weight of the evidence suggests that this is the case.

SMERCONISH: Alright let me bring in the other side. John Lott whose crimeresearch.org counters with first of all that defensive gun ownership actually prevents a lot of crime. But there are by definition no statistics on prevented crimes. And then statistically he points out the following.

While yes the US makes up about 4.4 percent of the worlds population, it only accounts for 4.1 percent of deaths from mass shootings where at least 15 people have been killed. And per capita Israel, Australia, and Africa all have higher mass public shootings death rates. He points out that all but two of the 25 worst mass public shootings, 59 of the worst 67 occurred outside of the United States.

And in 2015 France whose population is just 66 million suffered more casualties from mass public shootings then the US endured during Barrack Obama's entire Presidency. So Dr. Lott is your message to those marchers today hey if you want to keep us safe we should weaponize more Americans?

JOHN LOTT, GUN RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Police are extremely important protecting people. I think they are the most important factor. But I think the police themselves understand that they virtually always arrive on the crime scene after the crimes occurred. And the questions what should people do when their having to confront a criminal by themselves? And by far the safest course of action is to have a gun.

You know one thing it wasn't just mentioned in the previous discussion. Is the huge role that drug gangs have and murder and violent crime in the United States. We have over half the murders in the United States take place in two percent of the counties. And if you look at with in those counties there's usually two or three areas, small areas within those counties that account for the vast majority of those murders.

You know it would be nice if we didn't have a drug gang problem in the United States. But the solutions to them are quite different then going and talking about banning guns. I mean these drug gangs can go and bring in illegal drugs from other countries. They can go and bring in guns.

SMERCONISH: Dr. Lott do you dispute German's interpretation of the data? Which says very simply we have a disproportionate number of guns in our country and consequently a disproportionate share of the worlds gun violence.

LOTT: Look the easiest thing to go and do is to go a graph how gun ownership varies over across countries and something like homicide. And what you find is that those countries that have the highest gun ownership rates actually tend to have relatively low homicide rates, but more important than just looking cross sectionally, because few academics will actually just look cross sectional.

I'll give you a simple example. People will often go and say the UK has low homicide rates, has low gun ownership, and strict gun control laws so it must be the strict gun control that's causing low homicide. What academics would point out is that before they had the strict gun control laws they had even lower homicide rates. The homicide rates went up. Relative the United States is still lower.

But the point is there's lots of things that vary. And what you want to try and do is to look before and after a law changes and how that compares to other places that aren't changing. And when you look at gun ownership rates in the United States, the states that have had the biggest increases have had the biggest relative drops.

[09:10:00]

One simple question, if you look around the world any place that's banned guns. Either all guns, or all hand guns every single time the murder rates gone up. You would think out of randomness you'd get one single time where murder rates had gone down. But you can't find it.

SMERCONISH: German I want to give you the final word. We're short on time go ahead and respond to Dr. Lott.

LOPEZ: Well I mean your viewers can look at the charts and maps that you put up at the beginning of the show. If you look at it I think John's claim that their, the counties with the most gun ownership have the few gun deaths. I mean that's just not true. But furthermore there have been academics that looked at the research on what happens after you pass gun control measures.

There was a study two years ago where academics looked at 130 studies around the world. And they found time and time again that when you pass gun control measures it's followed by a drop in gun deaths. There was also a recent report by the Rand Corporation and independent think tank and they looked at the studies in the US including some of John's studies.

And they found that when you look at all these gun control measures they tend to correlate with a reduction in gun deaths. So I think that's what we should be focusing on. It's not just that there's a correlation between more gun ownership and more gun deaths. There's also a lot of research the body of evidence suggests that gun control leads to fewer gun deaths.

SMERCONISH: Go ahead quickly Dr. Lott, very quick.

LOTT: People go to our website crimeresearch.org we have a long list of academic papers. The vast majority of them show that when you have stricter gun control you have increases in murder rates. You can go and look at our graphs that look at the whole world or look at developed counties rather than select ably pick. And what people think that people don't know is that a lot of developed counties don't even report firearm homicides. Those are countries that have high homicide rates.

SMERCONISH: Gentlemen, thank you.

LOTT: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: I appreciate your being here.

LOPEZ: Thank you for having me.

SMERCONISH: Shame we can't even agree on - can't even agree on the data. And may I just say parenthetically maybe that's a reason why the CDC ought to be empowered to study and issue like this. Remember I want to know what you think. Did any minds just get changed? Go to my website its smerconish.com.

Vote on this question, will America's gun culture ever change? I'll report back at the end of the program. Up ahead Facebook under fire for allowing political operatives to mine it's users data with out their permission. To me what's fascinating is what was exposed about how we all get categorized by the things we like via Facebook.

But the way I took a personality test. I want to show - share with you those results. Plus Californians are fleeing the Republican Party. I speak with former GOP Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger about why that is? What they need to do, and who he thinks ought to be running for President right now.

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[09:16:43] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: You're looking at a live CNN Washington, D.C. ahead of the March for Our Lives. More than a half million people expected for the main event which starts at noon Eastern.

Now Facebook is in crisis because of the way in which users' data was harvested for political purposes without their consent. And here is how it happened. In 2013, Cambridge researcher

Aleksandr Kogan created a personality app called "This is Your Digital Life" and about 300,000 installed it on their phones. He was eventually able to collect data on tens of millions of friends of those users who hadn't solved the app. And by 2015 he'd shared the data with Cambridge Analytica which is owned by conservative billionaire Robert Mercer which later used the material to target American voters.

This enabled the collection of data from more than 50 million Facebook users without their consent and it facilitated the building of election models to target specific voters. Keith Collins and Gabriel Dance did a nice job in the "Times" this week in explaining how it all worked.

I took a very similar 100 question quiz developed by the Psychometrics Center at Cambridge's Judge Business School that assessed my openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism or OCEAN, as the acronym holds. I answered 100 personality questions with responses ranging from strong disagree to strongly agree. Things like I know how to captivate people or I need a push to get started or I am not interested in abstract ideas.

You ready? Here are my results. Openness, 38 percent. Conscientiousness, I think that's a good thing, 88 percent. Extroversion, 66 percent. Agreeableness, 58 percent. How about my neuroticism? 58 percent.

Well, information like mine was then cross-referenced with Facebook likes and Michal Kosinski, an assistant professor of organizational psychology at Stanford created this chart which shows what a person's Facebook likes says about them. For example, you're most open if you like writing. But you're least conscientious if you like the game "Mine Craft." You're most agreeable if you like the bible. But if you like drawing, you classify as least extroverted. And do you like Marilyn Manson? Then you're most neurotic.

The resulting model allowed researchers to make precise guesses about personality characteristics and armed with that model, researchers could often make guesses about subsequent user's personalities with just the likes. In other words, they no longer needed individuals to take the 100-question quiz that I did. And that's the stunner.

That's the wake-up call that by simply liking Bjork or "Mine Craft," Marilyn Manson or ESPN and so many do that on a day-to-day without a second thought, we're providing the same level of psychological information as would otherwise be yielded in a 100-question personality quiz. And while Facebook has apologized for what happened with Cambridge Analytica, it has not yet addressed the wider implications or how widespread this misuse of data might be.

[09:20:09] Joining me now, tech and social media expert, Lance Ulanoff. He's a former chief correspondent and editor-at-large of Mashable.

Lance, when I was coming of age politically, and we were trying to get out the vote in my neighborhood, when I was an assistant committeeman, we had a list of the people who were registered to vote and how they were voting meaning Republican or Democrat. We would knock on their door and ask them to go vote.

This is the 21st century big data equivalent of driving your vote to the poll. Right?

LANCE ULANOFF, TECH AND SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT: Yes, but it's so much more powerful. I mean, being on Facebook is a 24-7 personality test. I mean, all of those likes that you've been doing, that we've all been doing for years, they tell you so much about who that person is. I mean, you open that door of trying to get people to vote, you really don't know what you're encountering. You know so little about those people. But we have been dropping data, we have been dropping information about our preferences all over the Internet for well over a decade now.

Facebook is one of the best places for collecting that data and then of course turning it into valuable information about the personality, about the preferences of the people using the service. SMERCONISH: Most unlikely wouldn't you say that this is a one-off,

all the focus on Cambridge Analytica? I mean I keep waiting for the next several shoes to drop. Where do you think this story is going?

ULANOFF: Well, even Mark Zuckerberg said that they're going to be looking for other Cambridge Analyticas and they are auditing all of these other apps. And I guarantee that others broke the rules.

I keep going back to what Kogan basically unapologetic about selling the data, breaking the cardinal rule that actually Facebook put in place. You know, you can't sell this data. He went ahead and did it and I think that it's very likely if he felt that way, other third party app makers on Facebook felt similarly because of the enticing power of this data. It is so hard to deny it, it's so hard not to sell it and use it because it tells so much.

SMERCONISH: Are we partially to blame, we users? I mean, to the extent that via Facebook, or liking Marilyn Manson, or the bible, or Salvador Dali, or drawing or art? Have we brought this on ourselves?

ULANOFF: A little bit. I mean, look, I understand that people think that Facebook broke the rules, Facebook was wrong. Mark Zuckerberg is to blame. But we have been using these services for a long time. We've been willingly sharing our information. Even at the level of because what they used are the apps, right?

The information about what the apps shared and how it works is actually on the Facebook site, it is controllable by you. Most people never dug into that, most people don't read any of that stuff. So of course we have some responsibility. And I think what is interesting is that what is really freaking people out is that now the world really knows it. People like to keep their personality -- their preferences private, but ultimately for whatever reason on social media, it's where they share it quite willingly.

I mean, when you put a like on there, all of your friends can see that you liked that things, so you're not hiding it anymore. You're hiding it in plain sight. So of course we -- we have some level of responsibility, but I think this is a big wake-up call for users and of course a reckoning for the entire infrastructure of data sharing on the Internet.

SMERCONISH: And final quick question. Can you put the Genie back in the bottle or for someone like me who's been a Facebook user and has already weighed in on countless situations and likes, is that data already out there now to be harvested?

ULANOFF: It's out there. I mean, I think just wipe your hands of it and go look, you know, they know me, everyone knows me, everyone online knows what I do. They have pictures of me. They know where I live. They know what I buy. That's why things arrive in the mail. It's out there. This is the age we live in. And I think we have to adjust to it. But future generations will probably be approaching the Internet differently. And so over time maybe it will get better.

SMERCONISH: Lance, thank you so much for being here. ULANOFF: My pleasure.

SMERCONISH: Speaking of social media, let's see what you're saying not only via Twitter being but also on my Facebook page.

"Smerconish, Facebook, could Zuckerberg be a Trump supporter?"

Alice, I don't think so. I think that it is the Trump campaign that in a political sense was the first to be able to take advantage of the type of harvesting that Cambridge Analytica was presenting for political purposes. But don't miss the takeaway. Right? The takeaway is that there is as much known about you through your liking at Facebook as there is about me having taken a 100-question personality quiz.

Still to come, this first lady doesn't embrace the spotlight, but it's on her this week because of bombshell interviews with her husband's alleged ex-mistresses.

[09:25:09] What's that got to be like? And this week in L.A. I talk to the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's concerned about the direction of his Republican Party and America and he tells me his hopes for the future.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), FORMER CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: If you're happy with Trump, then stay with Trump. It is up to the individual people but I mean I think that we need an alternative.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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SMERCONISH: And we're taking another look at the streets of Washington, D.C. ahead of the March for Our Lives. Organizers demanding Congress address a comprehensive and effective law on gun issues. More coverage throughout the course of the day.

Now sometimes the country scoffs at trends that begin in California. Until they start to spread to the rest of the country. No fault divorce, property tax revolt, the decriminalization of marijuana, the hula hoop, Van Halen.

[09:30:08] Say what you will, but the state often sets the tone which is why we should all pay attention to the struggles of the Republican Party in the land of Ronald Reagan. Statewide just under 19 million Californians are registered to vote as of January. That is 76 percent of those eligible. And check this out, 44.6 percent are registered Democrats. 25.4 percent Republican. No party preference, 25 percent.

So the I's are about to overtake the R's. That decline of Republican registration caused a state assemblyman named Chad Mays to join forces with former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger this week at an event for a group called New Wave California where I was one of the speakers along with former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

After our respective speeches, I sat down with the "Terminator" to talk politics.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SMERCONISH: Governor, you famously said that the Republican Party has a problem at the box office. I heard you equate the GOP with the "Titanic." Explain.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, you know, I told the Republican Party at the Republican convention, it was like 10 years, that they're dying at the box office, and the reason why I said it was because their policies were such that they weren't really including everybody. And so that you have everyone interested.

Like for instance women, a million women left within a few years because we did not address as a party health care issues, we didn't address education issues, we did not address environmental issues. Three issues that were very important to women and we were losing them because we weren't addressing these issues. So I was telling them, I said look, the way you are going, being so anti, you know, health care reform and being so anti-environment, we are losing and we are dying at the box office.

Since then the party has decreased, acknowledged 26 percent popularity over all. And so it is dying like the Titanic. The only thing is that we don't have to go under completely. We don't have to wait for that moment. Let's change. And let's go and be more open and go back to this kind of like big tent idea of Ronald Reagan.

SMERCONISH: Independents are about to overtake Republicans in California. What can California to differently?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I think independents are going to take over the Republicans, they're going to take over the Democrats also because I think that people in general I would say upset about the fact that Democrats are too far to the left now and they're getting stuck in their ideology and Republicans too far to the right. And I think this is why we have helped to some extent here in California with getting rid of gerrymandering and to redistricting reform. And to have open primaries. But we still have the problem that the Republican Party and the Democratic Party would endorse certain people and then put a certain weight behind certain people. Those are usually the extreme people.

SMERCONISH: I heard you say that Washington needs to have John Kasich back in town.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I mean, look at this. I mean, John Kasich was head of the Budget Committee, I mean, they balanced the budget in the '90s. They got rid of the deficit, got rid of the debt and actually added -- had a surplus. I mean it is unbelievable to think about it today to have a surplus. They totally wiped out the surplus since then. And now we have -- almost a $21 trillion debt. $21 trillion. Who is going to pay that off? So that is why I said, John Kasich, go back to Washington and kick some butt and go and straighten out the mess. It will be fantastic.

SMERCONISH: How soon do you want him back? Do you want him back in 2020?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I told him he should run in 2020. I mean, the running should start now. I mean --

SMERCONISH: You want him to run against President Trump?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I think he should run against President Trump and I think that he go and show the American people an alternative.

SMERCONISH: Do you think he could beat Trump? I mean, doesn't this come full circle to the issue that you just mentioned about how there's been an exodus of independent thinkers from the Republican Party? They're left now with a hard core base. Could Kasich beat him?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I think that I look at it a little bit differently. I think that eventually the people are going to judge the president before they go to the polls by his performance. So if Trump does a great job, then there is no reason to replace him, right? Because then people will be happy and they will say hey, he went through the list of things that he has promised, we have immigration reform, we have health care reform, we have now a true booming economy and we have all those things. And that he is attacking the education problem.

He is working on all of those things. And he is doing a great job. Bang, he is back in again, there's no two ways about, and he should be. But what I'm saying is that John Kasich is a great alternative.

[09:35:00] Should he not perform, because we don't know yet, we're only one year into his term, so does he not perform, then John Kasich would be a great Republican alternative and I think that he would be better than the Democrats can put up because the Democrats don't have anybody. He is the best next guy in line.

SMERCONISH: President Trump has been in office for about 400 days and has made only one trip to California. Do you feel he's abandoned the state?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I'm so happy that he's only made one trip. Look, I mean, the very fact that he doesn't want us to write-off our state tax, I mean, is a direct attack on Californians. So I don't think that he has been good for California. I don't think he cares about California. And I think California doesn't care about him.

SMERCONISH: You addressed education, you addressed the environment, you addressed health care. Those are not exactly cornerstones of Republican platforms these days. You think the party can win on those issues?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I think that it is extremely important to just look at the problems we have in the United States. So it's great when you talk about that we must be number one economically. But at the same time, you have to recognize that we are number one already economically. But then in school and education, we are 39th in the world. 39th to me, this is absurd. And why is it this way? Because our education system really sucks. And we need to do something about it.

I mean, it is absolutely inexcusable that we have to have, for instance, affirmative action. Affirmative action means that I have not treated all the children equally. I have not given them an equal chance. I've not given them equal textbooks, equal amount of money, equal computers, equal quality teachers and so on and so forth. And I saw it first hand when I was governor. I mean, there are schools like here in East L.A. that don't have by far the same thing that they have in Beverly Hills, which is unfair, and that is a major problem. And this is why certain kids are falling behind.

Then you have to shoot them into (INAUDIBLE), it's insulting. So I say we've got to go and start working on and take on this challenge of equal education, and great education, and every level so that we can fill those six million unfilled jobs that the United States has right now and they cannot fill it because the people are not educated enough. I mean, that's -- it's crazy. So I think that it doesn't matter if you are a Republican or if you're Democrat, they got to get together and solve this problem.

SMERCONISH: You still have the fire in the belly. That's obvious. Is there any political future for you, a direct involvement in politics?

SCHWARZENEGGER: No, you know, I'm not looking for running for office or anything like that. I just happen to be as passionate about those issues because I'm not just a talker about politics. I was governor. And I saw firsthand the problems that we have. And how those problems actually can be solved if both parties work together. And so what I'm trying to do is to say to the Democrats and Republicans, ease off from those political corners that you are stuck in and come to the middle and try to solve the problem that the American people need to have those problems solved.

We cannot go for another 20 years with no immigration reform or education reform or health care reform. We truly have every American insured and figure out a system so that it is fair for everybody so you don't punish those that already have bought the insurance and so on. So there's a lot of things that need to be tackled. I don't look at it as a Republican issue or Democratic issue. So I just see them as people's issues.

SMERCONISH: Thank you, Governor.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Absolutely.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SMERCONISH: California. I will never say it the same way again. Let's check in on your tweets and Facebook comments. What have you got, Katherine?

"Smerconish, do you think that you and the governor bonded so well because of your unique last names?"

No, Kevin, I think because of our common physiques.

So this is a shot of protesters assembling here in Philadelphia for today's anti-gun violence march. CNN will be covering throughout the course of the day from all over the country and the globe.

Still to come, what a week for Melania Trump with Anderson Cooper interviewing both an adult film actress and a former Playboy Playmate who have made allegations of affairs with the now president. How is she weathering the Stormy? We're about to find out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:44:09] SMERCONISH: Thousands are gathering in 38-degree temperatures for the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. starting in just a couple of hours. And of course it's not just the nation's capital. Crowds are forming at solidarity marches like this one here in Philadelphia. Demonstrations are scheduled in more than 800 cities all around the globe. This week seemed particularly rough for the first marriage with the twin Anderson Cooper interviews with playmate Karen McDougal here on CNN and adult film actress stormy Daniels that airs tomorrow night on "60 minutes."

Unlike many first ladies, we don't hear much from Melania Trump herself, so we're left with a lot of rumor and speculation, reading of tea leaves over photos and video interactions. "People" magazine recently quoted a source close to her saying that she is furious over the 24-7 tornado that her life has become.

When "60 Minutes" airs tomorrow, the president will be back in the White House while Melania stays in Florida with Barron for his spring break.

[09:45:07] So what's the story here?

Joining me now, Kate Andersen Brower. I think she is the perfect guest as she has written books about both first ladies and the White House staff. Her most recent is, "First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies."

Hey, Kate, there have been many, many leaks from the West Wing during the course of the Trump administration thus far but none from the second floor residence. Does that surprise you?

KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, AUTHOR, "FIRST WOMEN": Not really because the East Wing, even during Michelle Obama's tenure in the White House, has always -- they really circle the wagons around the first lady and especially with Melania Trump, she has one very, very small press shop. She has less than haft the number of people working for her than Michelle Obama did. So it's very hard to get a lot of information from them.

But I will say that I don't think -- people always are saying they're reading the tea leaves and trying to interpret things, and I really think what you see is what you get. I don't think she's happy. And I talked to people who say that she is unhappy and this is not what she wanted. And that her life and the "People" story quotes a friend saying that she feels like she is the -- the part of the Kardashians now. It's like the Trump family is engulfed in all these scandals and innuendo, and it's not what she wanted for herself and it's not what she envisioned when she married Donald Trump.

SMERCONISH: There is so little known about her, right? I mean, there's so little known about her circle of friends, about her own family. It's unusual given the 24-7 bubble in which we live and the amount of attention that is constantly put on this administration.

ANDERSEN BROWER: There are so many rumors about her and her family, you know, their son Barron goes to a school at St. Andrews in Potomac, which is quite a distance from the White House. It would take 30 to 40 minutes to get there and back. And so there's lots of talk about her parents living in Potomac near the school, maybe Melania living there in Potomac and not being full-time in the White House.

But again, this is all just kind of rumors and it's impossible to get a straight answer from her press shop because they really want to keep this private. And they are really, really protective of her. And I think that just goes to the fact that a lot of first ladies feel like look, we weren't elected to this job, we shouldn't have to answer a lot of these questions. And we get to keep a small bit of our private lives private.

SMERCONISH: So he won't be with her tomorrow night. I'm sure the president is hoping for a cable outage at Mar-a-Lago Sunday evening.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSEN BROWER: Yes, I mean "60 Minutes" is probably going to get their -- the highest rating in recent memory. And I think it's amazing that the only modern first lady who has gone through anything like this is Hillary Clinton. And this is, you know, President Trump's sworn enemy. And so the fact that the person that Melania Trump has the most in common with at this moment is not Jackie Kennedy who endured a lot of this, but there was an agreement among the press not to talk about Kennedy's affairs.

And of course this was before cable TV and social media. So now you have a first lady who's forced to deal with this head on and we haven't seen anything like it since Hillary Clinton. So, you know, a phone call --

(CROSSTALK)

SMERCONISH: Well, we also haven't seen Melania mount a public defense of Donald the way in which Hillary Clinton did for Bill.

Kate, thank you so much for being here.

ANDERSEN BROWER: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Still to come, your best and worst tweets and Facebook comments, like this one. What do we got? "Smerconish, I have to say Trump has good taste in women and he gets

them."

You know, I'm so glad you make this observation. Because I've been saying all week long on radio that to his core constituency, you know, the working class high school educated white guys in rustbelt states who are clicking through the TV and looking at Melania, looking at Stormy and looking at the Playmate, I don't think it hurts him any politically speaking.

Don't forget results coming up in just a moment. Vote on this poll question at Smerconish.com. "Will America's gun culture ever change?" And this of course the scene at the March for Our Lives. That's Washington, D.C. Back in a sec.

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[09:53:44] SMERCONISH: Thousands of students pouring into the streets of Washington D.C. this morning just hours ahead of the March for Our Lives. Due to the huge numbers expected, organizers warned it might be less a march and more of a standing room only rally. Could turn out to be one of the largest Washington protests since the Vietnam era.

All right, let's do this. Time to see how you've responded to the survey question at Smerconish.com. Will America's gun culture ever change? Remember, we started at a 50-50 -- whoa, the needle has moved. 21,239 votes cast. Glass half full. 52 percent say optimistically America's gun culture will change. 48 percent say not going to happen.

Katherine, what do we got in terms of social media for this week's program?

"I used to think gun culture wouldn't change but these kids are making a difference in the way their generation views guns," says Keri at my Facebook page.

Hey, Keri, I will agree with you in this respect. If something should change, if that which just occurred in Florida finally brings about change, it will be because of these kids doing, frankly, what their parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles have not done for many, many decades.

[09:55:02] Another one, please. What do we got?

"Smerconish, people complaining about Facebook on Facebook is an oxymoron."

Sheila, thank you for tweeting that instead of putting it on my Facebook page. Next.

"Smerconish, Schwarzenegger undoubtedly gets the best line of the day award. I'm so happy he has only made one trip to California."

Can I tell you, and it's not just being star struck, I'm sure there's a little of that going on, but can I just tell you how impressed I am with Arnold, his intellect, his patriotism, his desire to bring about compromise and change? He's a real role model.

You catch up with us anytime at CNN Go and go on demand. We'll see you next week.

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