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Armstrong: My Denial Was "One Big Lie"; Making Big Business more Conscious

Aired January 18, 2013 - 09:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for being with us. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

Lance Armstrong did more than sit down with Oprah. He reached out to some of the people who accused him of doping, one of them Betsy Andreu. Armstrong called her up, apologized for 40 minutes for maligning her reputation and destroying her husband's cycling career.

Listen to what she told CNN's Anderson Cooper.


BETSY ANDREU, WIFE OF FRANKIE ANDREU, ARMSTROG'S FORMER TEAMMATE: I want to believe that Lance wants to come clean, but this is giving me an indication that I can't.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I want to play the exchange he had with Oprah where he specifically is talking about calling you. Let's play that.


OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: Have you called Betsy Andreu?


WINFREY: Did she take your call?


WINFREY: She did. Was Betsy telling the truth about the Indiana hospital? Overhearing you in 1996?

ARMSTRONG: I'm not going to take that on. And I'm laying down on that one.

WINFREY: Was Betsy lying?

ARMSTRONG: I'm just not -- I'm going to put than one down. And I don't want to -- she asked me and I asked her not to talk about --

WINFREY: What you said?

ARMSTRONG: -- the details of the call. It was a confidential, personal conversation. It was 40 minutes long. I spoke to Frankie, as well.

WINFREY: Is it well with the two of you? Have you made peace?

ARMSTRONG: Oh -- no.


ARMSTRONG: Because -- because they've been hurt too badly. And a 40- minute conversation isn't enough. And --

WINFREY: Yes, because you repeatedly characterized her as crazy, called her other horrible things.

ARMSTRONG: Well, and I clarified some -- I did call her crazy.

WINFREY: You did.

ARMSTRONG: I did. I did.

WINFREY: If you were to go back and look at all the tapes of things you said over the years about Betsy -- OK.

ARMSTRONG: And I -- I think she'd be OK with me saying this, but I'm going to take the liberty to say it. And I said, "Listen. I called you crazy. I called you a bitch. I called you all these things, but I never called you fat."

WINFREY: That's one of the things she said?

ARMSTRONG: She thought I said you were a fat crazy bitch.


ANDREU: Well, I guess we know why I was all these years. Putting up with that, how would you act, sweet as apple pie?

COOPER: The idea that somehow not calling you fat is any kind of --

ANDREU: Consolation?

COOPER: Yes, is -- when I heard that, my jaw dropped.

ANDREU: He shouldn't have done "Oprah." He should -- this was too big to -- he shouldn't -- he shouldn't have gone on here. This is going to be a long process for him, but he's approaching it the wrong way. What -- that exchange right there, it has me furious.

Bill, help me out. I mean, what is going through his mind?

BILL STRICKLAND, EDITOR AT LARGE, "BICYCLING" MAGAZINE: It's fascinating to me that Betsy and I have been talking about the exchanges. And it's just fascinating to me that he took that step, which everyone would think would be the hardest, to say, "I doped, I cheated. It was all a lie." And yet when it comes to details about other people he just can't -- he can't quite get himself there.


COSTELLO: Neal Rogers is editor-in-chief of "VeloNews". It's a cycling magazine. He joins us now from Boulder, Colorado.

Good morning.


COSTELLO: OK. So, if Lance Armstrong thought this interview might make people like him better -- I mean, come on!

ROGERS: Yes. I think if you were to grade Armstrong's performance last night, you'd have to give him somewhere along the lines of a "C" minus or a "D" plus, and I used that word performance intentionally because I believe that's what it was. It didn't feel sincere. We didn't actually really hear apologies per se, it was a confession.

But I think the whole thing has been very carefully crafted, and it was ultimately self-serving although not serving himself as much as he might have liked.

COSTELLO: It kind of makes you wonder if everyone in the sport of cycling is like Lance Armstrong.

ROGERS: Oh, no, I think that's a huge generalization. Lance was a one of a kind. He was a single-minded, focused, win at all costs kind of guy, and that's part of what has made him such an enigma and such a celebrity, really, you know, he would do whatever it took, and back it up with his athletic ability and the cancer background made him a perfect storm.

COSTELLO: You know, Armstrong's been eviscerated, banned from the sport, he may go to jail. He'll certainly have to pay back large sums of money. I know this is bad for your sport right now.

But in the end, might it be good in the long run?

ROGERS: That's my hope. I'm a big believer in the truth. I think the truth always comes out and it shall always set you free.

Covering the sport over the last decade, it's been tough. You talk to riders and you suspect there's more going on behind the scenes than they can let on or -- it used to be that way a lot more. It actually has changed quite a bit over the last four or five years.

It's important to remember that a lot of what Armstrong was talking about happened between '99 and 2005 when he won those seven tours. But, yes, I think in order for the sport to move forward, there needs to be a cleansing process, and Armstrong profited the most from the doping era in cycling. So he needs to be made an example.

COSTELLO: Well, it's interesting, because I was thinking if baseball would treat players who take performance-enhancing drugs like Armstrong, would there be a problem in baseball anymore?

ROGERS: Well, ye. And that's part of the problem for cycling is that it's under the Olympic movement. Other sports like track and field and swimming as well, they're sports that probably wouldn't exist in the same way without the Olympics versus sports like baseball, football, basketball, which are unionized and privatized and they exist in a completely different realm in terms of finance.

And so, you know, the athletes from these sports, they're tested more and they're out of competition, in competition. There's going to be more positives.

But cycling with its biological passport program is actually pioneering the way forward in terms of keeping athletes honest, but it's a tough process and there's going to be some collateral damage.

COSTELLO: I'm sure.

Neal Rogers, editor-in-chief of "VeloNews" magazine -- thank you so much for being with us today.

ROGERS: Yes, thank you.

COSTELLO: We've heard what Lance Armstrong had to say. But what did his body language have to tell us?

Coming up in the next hour, we'll dissect his every move with body language expert Susan Constantine. That comes your way in about an hour.

Also this weekend, CNN takes you inside the case against Armstrong. "The World According to Lance Armstrong" airs Saturday at 7:00 and 10:00 Eastern.

It's a $13 billion company and the world's largest retailer of organic grocery products, but the CEO of Whole Foods said his fellow corporate leaders should change the way they do business. John Mackey joins me to talk about conscious capitalism.


COSTELLO: Lance Armstrong wasn't just a phenomenal cyclist in his own right. He was the leader of a team that worked as a unit to win seven Tour de France titles. As the top rider, Lance had a lot of power to force his teammates to cheat, but did he?

Here's what he said to Oprah about that.


WINFREY: Were you the one in charge?

ARMSTRONG: Well, I was -- I was the top rider. I was the leader of the team. I wasn't the manager, the general manager, the director, the da da da.

WINFREY: But if someone was not doing something to your satisfaction, could you get them fired?

ARMSTRONG: It depends what they're doing. I mean, if you're asking me somebody on the team says I'm not going to dope --


ARMSTRONG: -- and I say you're fired?


ARMSTRONG: Absolutely not.

WINFREY: Could you --

ARMSTRONG: I mean, could I? I guess I could have. But I never did.

Look, I was the leader of the team, and the leader of any team leads by example and there was never a direct order or a directive to say, you have to do this if you want to do the tour, if you want to be on the team.

That never happened. It was a competitive time. We were all grown men. We all made our choices. But there were people on the team that chose not to.


COSTELLO: The International Olympic Committee has stripped Lance Armstrong of his 2000 bronze medal. And this morning the group released a statement, the Olympic committee. It reads in part, quote, "We now urge Armstrong to present all the evidence that he has to the appropriate anti-doping authorities so that we can bring an end to this dark episode and move forward, stronger, and cleaner."

Forty-three minutes past the hour. It's time to take a look at other stories we're watching right now in THE NEWSROOM.

Authorities at Miami International Airport are trying to figure out why two planes bumped into each other on the runway. No one was hurt when an Airbus 340 arriving from Argentina clipped a Boeing 777 headed for Paris. About 350 passengers en route to Paris had to switch planes for the trip. Luckily, no one was hurt.

Now, this is a bold move. The wife of the former mayor of Detroit is asking for donations to keep the couple's sons in private schools. The ex-mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, owes the city of Detroit $850,000. Yes, he stole it from the city. He's only paid back a fraction of that amount.

Actually, he's not allowed to solicit donations but his wife is. In a letter, Carlita Kilpatrick asked friends and family to help her with tuition payments. She's asking to raise $20,000.

Talk about a direct hit. Workers at an auto repair shop near San Diego showed up at work to find a five gallon bucket of cleaning solution had crashed through the roof. It turns out the container slid out of an open hatch of a military plane that had taken off from a nearby Marine Corps air station. The Marine Corps has agreed to pay for the repairs.

Inauguration fever spreading in Washington. Officials are handing out tickets to the big events, including Monday's parade and the official inaugural balls, the 800,000 people with or without tickets expected to show up for the big show.

And just this morning, the White House unveiled President Obama's new official portrait -- you're looking at it on your screen. It's a photograph taken in the Oval Office. The president is wearing a great big smile and an American flag pin on his lapel, and his hair is a little grayer than in his first portrait.

For years we've heard the term "conscious consumer", but my next guest says now is the time for big business to follow the lead of its customers and work to make an impact that goes far beyond the bottom line. He's John Mackey, CEO of the multibillion dollar retailer Whole Foods and co-author of "Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business". Good morning, John.

JOHN MACKEY, CEO WHOLE FOODS: Good morning, Carol.

COSTELLO: We're happy you're here.

MACKEY: Happy to be here.

COSTELLO: Before we get into the book and it sounds like a great book, I'd like to address something you said about Obamacare, the President's health care plan. You initially labeled the Health Care Act a form of "socialism" and then on NPR you called Obamacare "fascism", why did you decide to change the terminology?

MACKEY: Well clearly that was a bad choice of words. But traditionally "socialism" means that the means of production are run by the government and in "fascism" the means of production are still owned by private individuals but they're controlled by the government. And what's happening is our health care plan is moving -- our health care system is moving away from free enterprise capitalism towards greater governmental control. That was a poor choice of words due to the baggage and associations that go along with it. So now I'm just calling it government-controlled health care.

COSTELLO: And you realize when you say "fascism" it brings up Nazi Germany and all sorts of things.


COSTELLO: And we really want that kind language out of the public forum at the moment, don't we?

MACKEY: Apparently -- apparently you can't use that word in America any longer, it's taboo.


COSTELLO: That's right because some of your customers --

MACKEY: So be careful, you just used it.

COSTELLO: I did. Some of your customers though did express outrage of your use of that word. It was on the Whole Foods Facebook page. One person said and I quote, "Of course, he regrets his word choice. It affects his bottom line. I do not believe this apology any more than I believe Mitt Romney's attempt to get out from under his 47 percent comments." Care to respond to that customer?

MACKEY: Well, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. This is America.

COSTELLO: But why inject yourself into the debate over Obamacare in the first place?

MACKEY: Whole Foods has 73,000 team members that we provide insurance for and these changes in the law has greatly affect us. It's raising our costs. It's making it more difficult to provide the insurance at affordable rates to our -- to our team members so I'm trying to protect them as well as I can.

COSTELLO: I think, though, that many of your customers probably wouldn't agree with you since, I don't know, you kind of run a store that appeals to the more liberal in America in some ways.

MACKEY: I don't understand what your question or your point is so --

COSTELLO: I'm just saying some people feel Whole Foods is a politically correct grocery store because you sell organic foods, you're into health, et cetera, et cetera and some of your customers might be taken aback because -- because of that.

MACKEY: They might be. I mean, Whole Foods is a very diverse company. We have multiplicity of opinions. Again, we're the United States. We have freedom of speech. We're a democracy. We need to have a variety of opinions shared in order for us to remain a vital and prosperous country.

COSTELLO: So I want to talk about your book now, because some of the points you outline are quite good. You call it "Conscious Capitalism". Can you explain what you mean by that?

MACKEY: Conscious capitalism is a better way to do business. It's -- it's a way to recognize that every business has the potential for higher purpose beyond just the bottom line, beyond just making money. And it's a strategy for companies to create value for all of their stakeholders, not just their shareholders, their customers, their employees, their suppliers, their investors and their larger communities.

So it's -- there are many companies that practice conscious capitalism, companies like Whole Foods, like Google, like Southwest Airlines, like Nordstrom. There's a number of them out there and they're very successful in the marketplace. This is -- this is working and so we're trying to spread that message to other businesses so they can share in this -- in our success.

COSTELLO: And you also say that companies have to kind of not forget about the bottom line because you can't do that, but they can't owe all of their allegiances to shareholders. They have to care about others, too. What do you mean by that?

MACKEY: A simple example might explain it. You take a retailer like Whole Foods markets, our way we're successful is that we take care of our team members. We make sure that our employees, our team members are happy in the workplace, they're flourishing and then they go and take care of the customers and then if we have happy customers the business flourishes and that results in happy investors.

So we have to consciously create value for our team members, for our customers and that creates value for our investors. So we have to care about all of the stakeholders and by doing that the business flourishes along with all the stakeholders that voluntarily trade with the business.

COSTELLO: And I want to -- and in line with that just a last question for you, the wage gap in this country is so large, and by what you just said, included in that, does that mean paying your employees a good wage and health care and those kinds of things?

MACKEY: We do. Whole Foods has an excellent health care plan. We have a salary cap of 19 times the average pay which I think is pretty unprecedented for a Fortune 500 company. We pay well for a retailer. Our team members are happy. Our turnover rates are very low. We've been named one of the 100 best companies to work for, for 16 consecutive years now.

COSTELLO: John Mackey, thank you so much for being with us this morning. We appreciate it.

MACKEY: Thank you.

COSTELLO: In his own words, Lance Armstrong comes clean, sort of.


WINFREY: Was it a big deal to you? Did it feel wrong?

ARMSTRONG: At the time? No.

WINFREY: It did not even feel wrong?



COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question today, "What did you take away from the Lance Armstrong interview?" I'll be right back.



ARMSTRONG: I don't want to -- I don't want to accuse anybody else. I don't want to necessarily talk about anybody else. I made my decisions. They are my mistake. And I am sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say I'm sorry for that.


COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question today, "What did you take away from the Armstrong interview?"

This from Phoenix, "He's an arrogant, self-loving man. I lost all respect for him. His confession was self-serving and insincere."

From Bernadette, "Unrepentant -- just sorry he got caught."

From Courtney, "Who cares? The guy had cancer. Was he shooting heroin? No, move along."

This from Roy. "He's toast. He's forfeited his right to any public place other than a place of scorn. Thanks for the cancer funds. But now go away and hide in your shame."

And this is from Darryl, "This is mostly politics, European cyclists are terribly anti-American, they all were doing blood doping back then."

Keep the conversation going or tweet me @CarolCNN. I'll be right back.


COSTELLO: After passing the 20,000-point plateau, NBA superstar Lebron James is now working on his next 20,000. Lebron, leading the Heat into L.A. to take on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Lebron scored early and he scored often -- totaling his 39 points to after a dunk after a Lakers turnover. The Lakers pulled even late in the fourth quarter and then Miami ran off the game's final nine points, Heat win 99-90.

Arizona Cardinals have hired Bruce Arians as their head coach and that means all eight NFL vacancies for those post have now been filled but not one of those hires since the end of the regular season is African- American and that's not going down well.

Mike Freeman of reports, "I can tell you there is great outrage among the black assistant coaches I spoke to Thursday night, I mean extreme anger."

Freeman says coaches of color have been unable to break into the NFL's old boy network in significant numbers.

And leave it to a Minor League sports team to poke fun while trying to make a buck off a trending news story, the latest case the Florence Freedom in the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax. The Freedom an independent league baseball team has announced it will have Manti Te'o girlfriend bobblehead night during a game this season. Fans will actually get an empty bobblehead box, one section of the park will be reserved for fans to sit with their imaginary girlfriends or boyfriends. There will be a pretend "kiss cam" and air guitar contest and for the kids, an imaginary food fight.

Oh it's cold. That's a look at sports this morning.

The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM starts in two minutes.