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Jerry Falwell, Jr. is Interviewed; Newsweek: Obama "First Gay President"; Massive Manhunt in Southern California; 49 Bodies Found 80 Miles from Texas/Mexico Border
Aired May 14, 2012 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips. It's 11:00 on the East Coast and 8:00 out west. We begin with massive manhunt taking place in southern California. Not for a known criminal but a highly trained and specially skilled FBI agent.
Fellow agents fear that Steven Ivens is armed and suicidal. So, right now, search teams are tracing through the rugged, mountainous areas just outside of Burbank where dogs have been following his scent. Alina Cho is following the story. Do we have any idea why his family called this in and are so concerned?
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, good morning. Ultimately we don't know, you know. That's why this story is so bizarre and so confusing. Remember, this is a man who is married. He has a one year-old child, a son. And seem to be happy at work, liked by colleagues. Never had any disciplinary problems.
We are told, Kyra, that he's an avid hiker and runner. Dogs had picked up his scent near the Verdugo Mountains, east of Burbank. That's an area I know you know very well.
But so far nothing has turned up and they have since fanned out and they are looking all over Los Angeles County right now.
PHILLIPS: We heard from FBI Special Agent Steve Gomez. What exactly did he say?
CHO: He said that he believes that Ivens is despondent, distraught and that he's possibly suicidal. What is interesting about that, though, is that they would not comment on exactly why they believe that to be the case, but obviously they have reason to believe that is indeed the case.
They did search his home. They looked for his handgun. Couldn't find it. So at this point, they are assuming he took his handgun with him.
PHILLIPS: Do they believe he's still in the Los Angeles area?
CHO: Not sure. We can tell you this is the third day of searching. He was last seen on Thursday night by his wife as she was going to bed. When she woke up the next morning he was gone. He just vanished. And she called into authorities at about 7:30 in the morning on that Friday. The search is the biggest in the Burbank area in 20 years, some 100 FBI agents, 40 sheriff's deputies and dozens more law enforcement agencies, so all hands on deck for this situation, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: OK. We'll follow it. Alina Cho, thanks so much.
And it may not come as news that if you lose $2 billion of your company's money you're probably going to lose your job. But we're talking Wall Street and a bank that had been considered rock solid. And the bad old days of the meltdown are still fresh in our memories.
So a name that you probably never heard of, Ina Drew, is the financial headline of the hour. Drew was the JPMorgan Chase executive who oversaw the disastrous trade that her boss spent the entire weekend explaining.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: It was a stupid thing that we should never have done, but we're going to earn a lot of money this quarter, so it isn't like the company is jeopardized.
We hurt ourselves and our credibility, yes, and we have to fully expect and pay the price for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Christine Romans joining me now from New York to tell me more about what Ina Drew did and why it matters to all of us.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, she made about $15.5 million last year. She's a very high profile woman on Wall Street after 30 years with the company and now she's out, forced to retire after that $2 billion trade that Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan, says never should have happened in the first place.
What seems to have happened here is the company was making some hedges about the direction of the economy, I guess, and it started to turn sour and they found themselves with a position in credit default swaps.
Remember that phrase? Credit default swaps? They found themselves in a position in credit default swaps that was going bad and they started to lose a whole lot of money.
And this is one of the reasons why people who have been calling for more oversight of Wall Street and risk, they say for these big banks there's a lot of risk and risk is back.
Elizabeth Warren is one of them. For a long time said banks are too big, too complicated. This is what she said today about JPMorgan and the situation. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH WARREN (D), SENATE CANDIDATE: There's been a guerrilla war out there in which the largest financial institutions have been doing everything they can to make sure that financial regulations don't get put in place and, if they do get put in place, that they are loaded with loopholes and not very effective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: And, quite frankly, people in Washington have been saying that she's one of those people who has been on the other end of that war with the big Wall Street banks.
So you can clearly see a $2 billion trading loss, Kyra, has turned into a big fight between people who want more regulation on Wall Street and the banks themselves who say, no, no, no, don't regulate us anymore. That will slow down the economy.
PHILLIPS: Before I let you go, what's going on at Yahoo? It's like a resolving door in the CEO's office.
ROMANS: Another big story this morning. We've been telling you about Yahoo and how Scott Thompson, the CEO there, had been under investigation by the company for embellishing or exaggerating his education credential credentials.
He said he had a computer science degree. He didn't. He had an accounting degree. Now, he has left. Sunday, he left the company. He's been a big distraction. Yahoo's got a lot of problems and a big distraction.
"The Wall Street Journal" is reporting, Kyra, this morning that he told the board before he left that he's beginning treatment for thyroid cancer, so what started as a resume problem has now turned also into a medical problem.
So this story just gets stranger by the minute, but Scott Thompson over there at Yahoo now out.
PHILLIPS: Christine, thanks.
And a little more fallout from the Chase debacle. A sell-off on Wall Street with bank shares leading the way down.
PHILLIPS: Just a quick note for all of you heading out the door, you can continue watching CNN from your mobile phone, or, if you're heading to work, you can also watch CNN live from your desk top. All you have to do is go to CNN.com/TV.
Well, 49 bodies scattered on the side of the road and we still don't know if any of them are American tourists. It was a grisly discovery in Mexico just 80 miles from the Texas border. And it's going to be hard to identify the victims. Their heads were cut off and their hands and feet were mutilated. It's a brutal, brutal crime and the main suspects, of course, drug cartels.
In just six years, more than 47,000 deaths in Mexico, all blamed on the drug violence.
CNN's Rafael Romo joining me now with more on who these victims might be. I mean, it's very much a guess, yes, because of the way the bodies have been found.
RAFAEL ROMO, SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Authorities are looking at two very distinct possibilities at this point. One being that they might have been people involved with two of the most powerful cartels in Mexico, Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel.
The other possibility, according to a prosecutor, is the possibility that it may be Central American migrants. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADRIAN DE LA GARZA, NUEVO LEON STATE'S ATTORNEY (through translator): In the last few days, we haven't had reports of large numbers of missing people. That's why we believe it's a possibility the victims could be from a different state or migrants. We're not ruling out any possibility at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMO: But nothing is confirmed yet. They are still trying to identify many of the bodies. As we said before, these bodies were decapitated and they also were missing extremities.
PHILLIPS: If indeed they are migrants, why would they slaughter them like this?
ROMO: It's happened before in that part of Mexico because they are very vulnerable. These are Central American migrants traveling through that part of Mexico in an effort to get to the United States and so they have been robbed and many of them have gone missing.
And, Kyra, also, they are forced to work for the cartels, either taking drugs into the United States or working in labs producing the drugs themselves.
PHILLIPS: And this is 80 miles, right, from McAllen, Texas, and that's a pretty big corridor, right, for drug trafficking there on the border?
ROMO: This particular road has been very violent in recent months because of the turf war being played out. But President Calderon says that, at the bottom of this, the bottom-line question is, that this is all due to the insatiable appetite for drugs. This is what he had to say a few weeks ago when he asked about the issue in Mexico. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT FELIPE CALDERON, MEXICO (through translator): The key is to cut off the flow coming from up north because, if criminals in Mexico didn't get $15 billion a year from American consumers, we would have been able to finish them off a long time ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMO: And also, Kyra, American officials acknowledging that it is a shared problem and they are offering a shared solution. There's the Merida initiative in which the United States is giving Mexico resources to fight against this.
PHILLIPS: And, you know, for a lot of Americans, they hear Mexico and they think, look, this is where I vacation. This is where I take off for the summer.
What do you tell our viewers that are nervous about going into Mexico?
ROMO: That the tourists places that they know like Cancun, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta are, for the most part, very safe. This kind of violence is concentrated in the north and states south of Texas, south of New Mexico, south of Arizona. Mexico City, very safe.
Acapulco has had its share of problems, but the other cities that people in the United States, Canada and Europe know very well for the most part are very safe.
PHILLIPS: Got it. Rafael, thanks so much.
And the Mexican government is offering a $2 million reward now for information leading to the arrest of leaders of those two main drug cartels operating in that part of Mexico.
PHILLIPS: It's been more than a month since a ceasefire went into effect in Syria, but deadly clashes between rebels and government forces are continuing every day. Thousands of Syrians have fled into neighboring Turkey to escape the brutal assault by forces of President Bashar al Assad.
Anderson Cooper joining us now from Hatay Province, Turkey, just near the Syrian border. Anderson, you have actually had a chance to visit some of the refugee camps. Tell us what the conditions are like at this point.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are about 23,000 refugees here in Turkey. There's about 70,000 Syrians who have fled Syria over the last 15 months since these protest begin. Many of them are in Lebanon. Some are in Iraq, but about 23,000 are here.
And, Kyra, the camps are very well run. They're very orderly. They're very clean. And, most importantly, they're safe. But it's not home and just about every person that you talk to here will tell you they want to return to Syria, but they're not willing to do that until the regime of Bashar al Assad has fallen.
And they are doing whatever they can to try to make that happen, continuing to send people into Syria to take part in the so-called Free Syrian Army, though, as you know, the organization there simply doesn't really exist.
And they really don't have the weapons at this point to take on the Syrian regime, though we have seen renewed fighting in a town north of Homs called Rastan which is an opposition-controlled town. Syrian forces attacking that town now for several days.
We've also seen violence spillover into Lebanon and into Lebanon's second-largest city, Tripoli, fighting between Sunnis that live in Tripoli and Alwawites which is also reflecting the same kind of violence we are seeing inside Syria.
There's a lot of frustration, though, Kyra, in these refugee camps all along the Turkish border that the international community is not doing enough. There are about 100 U.N. monitors inside Syria, but, for people on the ground, they say that is too little too late. What they really need are weapons, training, armaments in order to really be able to take on the Syrian regime.
PHILLIPS: And, Anderson, every time you go in-country and you cover a humanitarian crisis like this, you spend time in these camps. You talk with the people.
When you even mention the fact that a ceasefire has been called for and that there's been this plan of action to do something about this, yet it's been going on for months and months and months, what are they telling you with regard to what they believe in, don't believe in, what they want, what they expect even from the United States?
COOPER: Well, you know, there is certainly a lot of disgust with reaction by the international community in these refugee camps. That's understandable because there has not been the international support besides rhetoric and words that a lot of these refugees had hoped for.
They say about 1,000 people have been killed since the U.N. ceasefire plan was adopted, but there really hasn't been a ceasefire. The fighting has continued all along. The violence continues.
So people are continuing to get killed and continue to fight and I think there's just a lot of frustration and a lot of disgust and they kind of wonder how will anything actually change?
You know, at this point the opposition fighters, the rebel groups who are fighting inside Syria, the so-called Free Syrian Army, they are not strong enough to be able to overthrow the regime.
We are seeing an increase in suicide attacks. We saw some in Damascus the other day which is an ominous turn, certainly. But the regime is not strong enough to destroy the opposition. The opposition isn't strong enough to overthrow the regime. So at this point, it's not clear how this will end or if it will end any time soon.
PHILLIPS: Our Anderson Cooper live there from Syria. You can watch "AC360" tonight.
Anderson, thank you so much. He will be live from the Syrian border at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time right here on CNN.
PHILLIPS: If you are fed up with high interest rates and other fees on your credit cards, why not shop around? Alison Kosik joining us from the New York Stock Exchange with tips.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: When it comes to getting the best terms on a new credit card, it's all about your credit. Here's what you can expect.
Interest rate-wise, if you have a credit score between 620 and 659, the average rate is around 20 percent. If you have a score between 660 and 719, expect about a 17 percent APR and, if you have excellent credit, meaning score above 720, you'll get an average APR around 13 percent. That's all according to CreditHub.com.
The best deal you'll find now is between 7.9 percent and 8.9 percent from a credit union. You have to have a great credit score. You can get your credit report from all three reporting agencies for free every year at AnnualCreditReport.com.
To get that FICO score, you have to pay to see it. You have to pay $20 to see that FICO score.
PHILLIPS: All right. Just real quickly for college students, right, it's been a brutal economy and a lot of them haven't been able to get any work. They haven't used credit cards. They're in debt. What do they do?
KOSIK: Secured cards are actually a good option if you don't have great credit or never had a credit card before.
You have to be careful. Cards come with average APR around 18 percent, which is relatively high. You need to watch out for fees. Be wary of prepaid credit cards. They have high fees and don't help you build your credit score which is what you need.
A few places to compare cards and information, CardRatings.com, CreditSesame.com and BankRate.com. If you go to those sites, you'll get more information on everything I'm talking about here.
PHILLIPS: All right. Alison Kosik, thanks.
You think you deserve a raise, but you are not getting it? You may be living in the wrong state. Workers in some states have a better chance of getting a raise than others.
The best states for climbing up that salary ladder? Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Utah. If you live in these states, you might be out of luck -- Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas.
PHILLIPS: This just into CNN. Florida's A&M's famous marching band will remain off the field. The university president is suspending FAMU's Marching 100 Band for the 2012-2013 academic year. The announcement was made less than 15 minutes ago after meeting with the school board of trustees this morning.
Now, this comes just as the backlash following hazing death of Robert Champion. Since the death last year, the band has been suspended. Extending the band's suspension is necessary to be restructured and for the school to set new rules.
Thirteen people have been charged for allegedly taking part in Champion's death. Just last week band director who had been on administrative leave stepped down under pressure. More on this story in just a second.
Here in Atlanta, fighting a gruesome battle against flesh eating bacteria. That's what 24-year-old Aimee Copeland is doing at a hospital in Augusta, Georgia, and signs she's making gains against what seems to be an impossible enemy.
Medical experts are actually calling Aimee's recovery astonishing and even mind-boggling. This hour, doctors are fighting to save Aimee's hands and her right foot. Here's what her dad said on "Starting Point."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY COPELAND, FATHER OF AIMEE COPELAND: The doctors are doing the best they can to try to save as much of her extensions or her hands as they possibly can. It's day-by-day or even hour-by-hour.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: And just two weeks ago, Aimee had a busy, full, active life until she went zip-lining near the Little Tallapoosa River. That's 50 miles west of Atlanta right in Georgia. That homemade zip- line snapped and sliced open her calf.
Days later, doctors found flesh-eating bacteria consuming her muscles and invading her body.
George Howell's been on this story since the very beginning. You actually spoke with Aimee's dad on Friday, right? And, if you read the blog, he said it's a miracle what's happening because a lot of people thought she wouldn't make it. GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Kyra, I spoke to him this morning, as well, and he told me this. Obviously, Aimee has a tube down her throat to regulate oxygen levels, but the family has gotten really good at reading lips at this point and they were able to read two questions that she had.
The first question about her thesis. She is seeking a master's degree in psychology and she is concerned about missing so much time toward her thesis. And she was also concerned about her job. She asked about missing time for her job.
And her dad said, obviously, that gives a good example of her work ethic. He assured her that she'll be OK. That people understand, given what she's going through.
PHILLIPS: And she's been communicating then a little bit?
HOWELL: As best she can.
PHILLIPS: Aimee's dad was saying that she's not sure what happened to her. Her memory has been impacted by this.
HOWELL: There's that. You also have to keep in mind she's on a lot of medications right now. The family is obviously keeping a close eye on her health at this point. They are very optimistic about her recovery. Here's what they had to say this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY COPELAND, FATHER OF AIMEE COPELAND: We really don't see the suffering side of it. We see the miraculous survival. When we told her how long she had been at the hospital, her eyes widened in horror. I have to work on my thesis and then her eyes grew large again. The nurse came in who is better at lip reading and looked at her and said i think she's saying job. I said Aimee are you worried about losing your job? She nodded her head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Obviously everything she's gone through after that surgery she went into cardiac arrest and it's been an uphill battle to maintain but her family is optimistic and she's improving day by day.
PHILLIPS: We'll follow this every day. There are a lot of parents paying close attention to this story.
If you don't mind while i have you because you have been reporting on the FAMU story. We just reported what was decided and that the band is going to be suspended. There's a lot of critics coming forward say this should have happened a long time ago and it wasn't the first time the band had been held accountable for hazing. What's your take on this and could it go longer? Do you think it will just be for a year? This is a huge program and a money maker for the school.
HOWELL: The first and foremost thing, I spoke to Robert Champion, Robert Champion's father. He said any step toward ending hazing is a good step. That's the only statement he gave. He understands what's happening there on the university campus. He appreciates the fact that these steps are being taken. The band will stay off the field for the 2012/2013 season and it's the school's money maker. A lot of people would want to see this band but you did hear the university president say that he hopes that people will understand the school is trying to take steps to reorganize the management and also make sure that culture of hazing does not exist in the band.
PHILLIPS: It's got to go. Just cannot be tolerated on any level.
PHILLIPS: All right. George, thanks so much. Working both stories for us today. Appreciate it.
HOWELL: Double duty.
PHILLIPS: The prosecution has rested and now comes the defense case in the sensational federal trial of John Edwards. As you know, the former Democratic Senator running mate and presidential hopeful is charged with lying, conspiracy and campaign finance violations. All of it stemming from an affair with a campaign staffer who had his child. The defense says that almost a million dollars Edwards took from two wealthy patrons amounted to gifts and not campaign contributions and on Friday the judge denied a defense request to throw that case out.
The disturbing target is being sold online. Notice the hoodie, the bag of Skittles and bottle of iced tea in the right hand. Details in the Trayvon Martin shooting. According to an affiliate, WKMG, an unidentified seller is trying to turn a profit from this case by selling these paper gun range targets. George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman, charged with shooting Trayvon Martin, will soon get all of the evidence prosecutors have compiled against him. Zimmerman's defense attorney says he expects all of the prosecution's discovery sometime today.
PHILLIPS: If you are leaving the house right now, you can continue watching CNN from your mobile phone and watch CNN live from your desk top. Just go to CNN.com/tv.
He wasn't at Liberty to talk about Mormonism or partisan politics, at least not directly. Over the weekend, Mitt Romney was at Liberty, Liberty University, to try to convince the Christian right that he's not so different from them, at least when it comes to fundamental principles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Culture, what you believe, how you live, matters. As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of Democratic debate from time to time. So it is today with the institution of marriage, marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: I'm pleased now to welcome Romney's host for Saturday's address. The president and chancellor of Liberty University and son of the school's founder, Jerry Falwell Jr.
Chancellor, overall, did Romney win over evangelicals or is this a good start as Tony Perkins says?
JERRY FALWELL JR., PRESIDENT & CHANCELLOR, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY: I don't think that was his purpose in coming to liberty. We invited him to be our commencement speaker. It's about our graduates and accomplishments. Many graduates said after his speech that they were worried it would be a campaign speech, they didn't want their graduation speech to be political. And they were very pleased that it was not political and it was about them and about their future and i think in that sense he made a lot of friends here Saturday.
PHILLIPS: Chancellor, let me ask you, you quoted your father in your introduction saying that Christians should vote for candidates based on their political views and not their faith or theology. Were you actually telling your school and followers that Romney's Mormonism is a nonissue?
FALWELL: Well, there were a few complaints from very small minority of students before the speech because he's Mormon and we're an evangelical Christian school and have 80,000 online students, 12,500 here in residents and the world's largest Christian school but I have to explain to that group that we traditionally have had speakers from all faith and some no faith all-to give a well rounded selection of speakers from all walks of life. I was trying to communicate to everyone that liberty is a nonprofit institution prohibited from endorsing candidates and his appearance here was not an intuitional endorsement. I also wanted to add that we believe and my father always believed that when you elect a -- you're not electing pastor, you're electing a commander in chief. You should choose -- a Christian should choose a candidate whose position on political issues are aligned with their own and not a candidate whose theological issues are most closely aligned with their own. I started to make a joke about how Jimmy Carter was a good Southern Baptist but some didn't find his political positions palatable. I refrained from doing that at commencement. It was for folks that are confusing theological values and political values and I want to distinguish the two.
PHILLIPS: It's interesting that you mention that you don't endorse. You introduced Romney as the next president of the United States. That wasn't an endorsement?
FALWELL: It was a prediction. Not an endorsement.
FALWELL: I'm an attorney so i get accused splitting hairs like that.
PHILLIPS: You're an attorney so your word choice is very interesting. We could kind of say that a prediction is a bit of an endorsement.
FALWELL: It was a prediction. That's all. It could turn out to be wrong. That's my political forecasting.
PHILLIPS: Are you going to vote for Mitt Romney?
FALWELL: I've said all along that i would support whoever becomes the Republican nominee. I've not endorsed anyone up to this point. Individually i will. That's still my position. I will support and vote for whoever is the Republican nominee this year.
PHILLIPS: We talked that Romney's speech was heavy on faith and values and pretty much devoid of partisan rhetoric. Let me play a little part of that speech from this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Central to America's rise is the vision of goodness and possibilities of every human life. The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self and at the foundation the family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Here's my question taking that to heart. Not once did he mention Mormonism. Didn't say the word Mormon. Do you think that he should just give a flat out speech on his Mormon faith sort of like JFK back in 1960 when he addressed his Catholicism? Since he sort of did it in 2007 with his speech on Mormonism, should he just go ahead and come out and talk about it and then move on?
FALWELL: I think Americans have gotten past that. I think in 1960 it was necessary for John Kennedy because he was our first Roman Catholic candidate for the presidency or first one to win. Americans have moved beyond that now and most Americans understand that for a candidate it's important what they believe on the political issues, not their religious faith and that's what I was trying to communicate to our audience.
I believe that his warm reception at Liberty University is a good indicator of how evangelicals nationwide will support him in the fall. I say that because Liberty is largest Christian university in the country and in the world and we have a good cross section of evangelicals from all denominations and all faiths. If anything, his appearance here and warm reception bodes well for his electability.
PHILLIPS: One final question. Maybe two if you don't mind. You did mention some of the students that were protesting this commencement speech. And I was reading through the Facebook petitions and even one student cited your own theology course there at Liberty that labels Mormonism a cult. What's your response to that and the fact there were a number of students that came forward and said this shouldn't be happening and this is not what Liberty preaches when it comes to Mormon religion?
FALWELL: Liberty has no official position on Mormonism. Our statement does not define Mormonism as a cult. There are hundreds of professors here and I'm sure you could find someone like the professor who authored that course that you just mentioned. I'm sure there are some that believe it is a cult. That's not part of our doctrinal position and not our official position. We've had speakers from every -- like I said before, from every faith and we had Ben Stein as our speaker three years ago. He's Jewish. We had Glenn Beck. When I graduated from Liberty in 1984, the speaker was Terrell Bell, also a Mormon. We try to expose our students to leaders from all walks of life. I did have to explain a little bit but complaints we received were in the hundreds and when you have 93,000 students, that's a very small percentage. Most were extremely happy with the choice and were grateful that the nominee chose to speak at Liberty University. This was a big weekend for our little corner of Virginia. The first lady spoke at Virginia Tech just up the road. The presumptive nominee for the Republican Party spoke at Liberty. Things like that don't happen in this part of Virginia very often. Most were very, very excited.
PHILLIPS: Chancellor Jerry Falwell. Appreciate your interview.
FALWELL: Thank you. Thank you, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: You bet.
Liberty is the largest Christian university in the world by the way and now claims to be the largest private four-year university in the nation.
PHILLIPS: Controversial magazine covers are nothing new and if you saw "Time" magazine's cover with the breastfeeding kid, you'll know what I'm talking about. "Newsweek" may take the cake with this one. President Obama, the first gay president. If the headline doesn't grab you, the rainbow halo probably will.
Amy Holmes, conservative commentator and anchor for GBTV; and Democratic strategist, Keith Boykin, are here.
OK, guys. The president announces that he supports gay marriage. "Newsweek" prints this. Did the magazine go too far with this one? Keith?
KEITH BOYKIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, they did. This is offensive to me. Almost as offensive as the notion that president Clinton was the first black president. President Obama is not the first gay president. It's a ridiculous notion. This is a trivial ploy to sell magazines and it also confirms and reinforces silly stereotype that you have to be gay to support civil rights protections for gays and lesbians. This is bad on all counts.
AMY HOLMES, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR & ANCHOR, GBTV: I agree with Keith. There's a fine line between being edgy and silly. This charges into absurd territory. I think "Newsweek" is reducing the gay identity to camp. Bill Clinton was our first black president. President Obama is our first gay president. I guess I'm expecting Chris Christie to be our first female president because he's an emotional eater or something.
BOYKIN: He's not president yet. Thank god.
PHILLIPS: And there's still talk about V.P. This could be another discussion.
And then there's Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL, (R), KENTUCKY: The president recently weighed in on marriage and, you know, he said his views were evolving on marriage. Call me cynical but I wasn't sure that his views on marriage could get any gayer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Anyone offended here or is this just kind of obvious political feeder? Keith?
BOYKIN: I don't know whether to be offended or just to feel sorry for him. It just seems like a stupid remark, the idea that, again, this whole stereotypical assumption you have to be gay to support gay rights. You would think somebody like Rand Paul a United States Senator, would know better than that, but I think it's part of the whole pattern of the Republican party to have complete disregard for the LGBT community, for not understanding the various constituencies that make up the United States, for understanding we're all together in this and we don't have to be divided by race or class or other issues they use against us.
HOLMES: Well, i think Rand Paul is way out there on his own on this one. I do not understand it whatsoever. Was he referring to Barack Obama having a hairless chest, wearing well-fitted suits? It was completely ridiculous. I don't think the Republican Party endorses Rand Paul's views on this matter whatsoever.
PHILLIPS: Well, so far, this is like not even a debate.
PHILLIPS: Amy and Keith, the two of you should be on a ticket together. BOYKIN: Normally, i don't agree on Amy with anything. This is really weird.
HOLMES: Here is where i guess i would disagree, is that i think the press is overlooking the fact that the Republicans in 2010 in the midterms did get 30 percent of the gay vote, so this idea that the gay vote is monolithic, that it's focused on gay marriage in particular is really unfair and untrue.
BOYKIN: I actually agree with you, Amy. I hate to agree again.
HOLMES: Oh, no, we're trying to make controversy here.
BOYKIN: I don't think the LGBT community only cares about the marriage issue, but I think the fact that Mitt Romney has taken this position is not only against gay mare rang but also against civil unions, with is more to the right than George Bush and Dick Cheney, i think that puts him out of the mainstream and i think that's going to really hurt him in the election in the fall.
PHILLIPS: I'm going to get one more question in because I just had a chance to interview Jerry Falwell, the chancellor at Liberty. Mitt Romney gives the commencement speech there. Now President Obama is going to give the address at Barnard College in less than an hour. It's an all-woman college.
Here is my question, apparently the president invited him to speak -- invited himself to speak there. Are college commencements the place to get political? Keith?
BOYKIN: Well, it's not surprising that the president of the United States, a politician, is going to be political when he gives a speech. We don't know what he's going to say, but he's obviously trying to appeal to women, to students, trying to appeal to young people. That's not unusual. Presidents always do that. This is not a big thing. Mitt Romney, even though his speech wasn't overtly political at Liberty University, it was extremely political in the sense it was given this dog whistle message to the conservative evangelical voters out there who were waiting for some sign that Mitt Romney understands them, so always presidents and politicians are political when they give these types of speeches.
PHILLIPS: Amy, 20 seconds.
HOLMES: I would say it's always an honor to have the president of the United States speak at your university. Of course, it's political, it's an election season. Speaking at a women's college, i don't know how cutting edge or progressive that is. The Ivy League has been coed for four decades. I think the only people who care about this are older liberals and they're voting for President Obama anyway.
PHILLIPS: That's "Fair Game." We'll leave it on a happy note.
PHILLIPS: He is one of the richest men in the world, and today is his 28th birthday. I think you know him pretty well, especially if you use Facebook every day. On Friday, his company goes public, an event Wall Street has been anticipating for months. But just who is Mark Zuckerberg? Dan Simon goes "In Depth" to ask the boy wonder himself.
PHILLIPS: And as we mentioned, the Facebook initial public offering is set for Friday. CNN's extensive coverage, all week, leading up to that highly anticipated event.
Thanks for watching, everyone. You can continue the conversation with me ob Twitter, @kyraCNN, or on Facebook.
CNN NEWSROOM continues now with Suzanne Malveaux.