Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Is the National Guard the Answer to Gun Violence?; Is the Key to Winning an Oscar a 'White Savior?; Last-Minute Preparations for Oscars; CNN Awards "Cappies" for Best Political Moments

Aired February 22, 2013 - 10:30   ET


ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'll tell you, Carol, one of my very good friends is Isaiah Thomas, the former NBA player. He has been going back to Chicago time and again and cooperating every which way he can to tell kids that kids like him who grew up in extreme poverty, who grew up in the midst of violence, who grew up with siblings with drug habits can make it out, that there is a way out.

And I think more people need to do that. This needs to be something that we all take on. We're all Chicago and need ownership of this problem.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Why - why, Jason, are you shaking your head? That sounds perfectly reasonable.



ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I'm shaking my head no on this one.


JOHNSON: Because it's a culture poverty argument. Because it's a suggestion that, well, the reason these kids are shooting at each other is because they haven't had good role models. No, most of these kids aren't shooting anybody; criminals are shooting people, and you need police to stop criminals.

It's great that Isaiah Thomas comes back to Chicago, seeing as how he beat them as a Piston for so many years. But the key is you need police, you need the government to do this. It's not that the people are wrong. The people are suffering. That's the key here.


COSTELLO: OK, go along, Robert.


ZIMMERMAN: OK, let me --

NAVARRO: Jason, but you need the kids not to become the criminals. Somewhere in the process kids are becoming criminals and we need to capture them before that happens.


ZIMMERMAN: And we're not going to do it, and we're not going to do it Ana, with Isaiah Thomas alone, or because we think Chicago law enforcement doesn't have the right priorities. There's a role we have to play as a nation in addressing these issues.

And let's be very clear about what's happening in Washington today and why it's undermining the city of Chicago, because there's a mindset now in our government, in Washington, from the Republican members of Congress, that sequestration is an acceptable way of doing business, that we can in fact engage in these massive irresponsible cuts that no one thinks is a logical approach to budgeting.

And that undermines law enforcement in our cities; it undermines so many education opportunities for our younger people and it does in fact -- in fact create an impoverished class of our society that leads to abuse, leads to violence and leads to more Chicagos.

COSTELLO: Yes, but I don't --


COSTELLO: I don't think you can leave Democrats out of that one.


NAVARRO: Yes, I'm going to try not to roll my eyes at your suggestion that Republicans are the ones responsible for Rahm Emanuel's city, for Barack Obama's -- President Obama's state, for a state that mostly Democrat look --


ZIMMERMAN: They're responsible for walking away --


NAVARRO: -- you all got to take responsibility and you are laying the blame on Republicans and making this a partisan issue. Frankly, I don't think helps anything single case.

ZIMMERMAN: I am, Ana, I'm making the Republican issue --


COSTELLO: OK, we're going to have to wrap this part of "Talk Back" up.



COSTELLO: And get to our Facebook responses, because I want to know what you think as well. The question again, "Is the National Guard the answer to gun violence?"

This from Christian, "Yes, clean up the street of Chicago and get the guns out of the hands of those monsters who don't value the lives of innocent people."

This from Wally, "What a joke. Anybody who believes that military patrolling U.S. streets is a good idea needs to open up a history book."

Keep the conversation going:, or tweet me @CarolCNN.

Next "Talk Back" question, "Is the key to winning an Oscar a white savior?"


COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question for you this morning: "Is the key to winning the Oscar a white savior?"

I'm taking a page from's David Sirota, who says Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" is the front-runner for the Oscars. Why? Because of a common Hollywood theme: the white protagonist, in this case President Lincoln, sweeping in to rescue the mostly passive blacks from their plight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's either the amendment or this confederate piece, you cannot have both.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many hundreds of thousands have died during your administration?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congress must never declare equal those who got created unequal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stepped out upon the world stage now, the fate of human dignity in our hands. (INAUDIBLE) still to afford us this moment, now, now.


COSTELLO: Now, many like historians Kate Masur have criticized "Lincoln" for having no major black characters. This is a movie about slavery. Masur writes, "It is disappointing that in a movie devoted to explain the abolition of slavery in the United States, African- American characters do almost nothing but wait for white men to liberate them."

Disappointing perhaps but not surprising. Hollywood has hit gold with white savior type films before.


SANDRA BULLOCK, ACTRESS: Big Mike, why were you going to the gym? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it's warm.

BULLOCK: Do you have any place to stay tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to interview you about what it's like to work as a maid. I'd like to do a book of interviews about working for white families.


COSTELLO: Do you recognize those movies? "The Blind Side" and "The Help" earned a combined $425 million and won two Oscars. Obviously, the white savior is a winning formula. And, let's face it, money and prestige talks.

"Talk Back" today: "Is the key to winning an Oscar a white savior?". or tweet me @CarolCNN.

I want to bring in Nischelle Turner. She's our correspondent out in Los Angeles, because Nischelle has covered Hollywood for a very long time. So is there ever talk -- now I'm sure you sat down with many African-American actors. Has that question come up in conversation before?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the question of is there a white savior in a lot of movies has definitely come up. I'm not sure if it's the question of is -- do you need this in order to win an Oscar?

I think more so the general consensus is it's an easier way to get a movie made in Hollywood if you have that central character who is, I guess, more enticing to the general public than just a specific audience.

So that question does come up, but more so than just "Can I get a movie made?" We heard Spike Lee talk about it time and time again and it's hard for him as a black director and making movie centered on black characters to get movies made than maybe a Steven Spielberg.

COSTELLO: OK, so you're saying a movie about a black savior, it would be very difficult to have that movie made, and perhaps it wouldn't attract an audience like a movie about a white savior?

TURNER: Well, I mean, we've seen this, Carol, this year, in a movie like "Django Unchained". I mean, there's been criticism of that movie. People say why didn't this get you know all of the acclaim that other movies did? Why didn't Jamie Foxx get a best actor nomination for this movie, because he was the central character?

And some people speculate in a lot of -- in the black community that maybe it's because he was kind of this big, bad character, the central character in the movie that wasn't very sympathetic to white people.

COSTELLO: Well, and plus, Jason -- and I see you're shaking your head there. Plus, even in the movie, "Django Unchained," a white guy got the ball rolling, right? JOHNSON: Right. I mean, that's the problem with these films. This is a conversation I have with my friends all the time, which is why I don't usually watch the Oscars, because there's this prevailing theme that black people are always in some subservient role in films. There's a prevailing theme that the way that African-Americans are depicted in films are ways that no one else will be depicted.

I'll give you an example. "Monsters Ball" several years ago, Halle Berry gets an Oscar for sleeping with, you know, Billy Bob Thornton. When do we ever see a film with Forest Whitaker have sex with Charlize Theron? Never. And no one would ever make that movie and no one would ever support it.

There are ways in which black people are depicted in Hollywood that are not at all respectable and very much driven by what white audience are perceived to want.

COSTELLO: Well, I want to ask Ana, you know, how she feels about how Latinos are depicted in movies. Because you never really see, I mean I'm trying to think of one where -- can you think of one Ana, where -- where a Latino or Hispanic was in the primary role and was a well liked character? And -- Ana?

NAVARRO: Well, you know, I'm thinking, I'm thinking as you're asking me.


NAVARRO: And I think and yes and I have to tell you this is not really my bailiwick. I think I have seen two of the Oscar nominated movies this entire year and it's not because there's not enough African-Americans or Latinos.

But, you know, I think we have made some strides. I think there is progress to be made yet. As we see more Latinos, more African- Americans, more diversity in terms of directors, in terms of financing executives at the studios is something that might happen.

But you know something, Carol, I have no idea. I don't know if Jason does, I don't know if Nischelle does, of what it takes to get the votes from the members of the academy. You know, I'm just waiting now for Robert to blame Republicans for there not being enough blacks in films.

COSTELLO: And Robert, I apologize for not getting to you. We have to wrap this segment up. I'm sorry I didn't get to the white guy. I apologize.

ZIMMERMAN: Can I make one point?

JOHNSON: He can still be the savior; he can still be the savior.

ZIMMERMAN: Can I make one point, Carol?

COSTELLO: Yes. ZIMMERMAN: I think,you know, it's a -- this is a really important topic and there are a lot of very good examples to prove Ana's point. The movie "Lincoln", however, has not proved the point. Because "Lincoln" is really about -- it's not about educating about the abolition of slavery. It's about a very bold and crafty politician who put together the votes in an all white Congress.


ZIMMERMAN: And get that amendment through -- get that constitutional amendment through the Congress. So I think it's -- I think it's a really important point. And we are just a bad example.

NAVARRO: And Tommy Lee Jones had a black lover.

COSTELLO: Only at the end of the movie though.

ZIMMERMAN: And he was a Republican president, Ana.

COSTELLO: Thank you very much. I want to find out what our Facebook friends think about this question. "Is the key to winning an Oscar a white savior?"

This from Abuschick, "No. The movie 'Gandhi' won several Academy Awards. It had nothing to do with a 'white savior' and had everything to do with a 'brown savior'."

This from Jim, "Didn't Jamie Foxx win the Oscar for his role in 'Ray?' It's a matter of minority actors getting lead roles with good scripts, which is a smaller percentage than white actors getting lead roles with good scripts."

Keep the conversation going. or tweet me @CarolCNN.

And coming up next, "Talk Back" take on the Oscars. We're giving out our own awards. We're going to call them the "Cappies". It's our Oscar with a political spin.


COSTELLO: Hollywood's biggest night just two days away. We have also got our take on the Oscars. We call them the Cappies. It's our way to honor the most memorable political moments of the year. More on that just ahead, but first Nischelle Turner joins us again with a behind the scenes look at the final preparation for the Oscars and we want some dirt, Nischelle. Dirt.

TURNER: I know you like to dish, Carol, so I'm going to dish a little bit for you this morning. You know I jumped right into the panel in the last segment so I didn't get a chance to say greetings to you from Hollywood, California, this morning and the red carpet. It was actually like the (INAUDIBLE) carpet until about 20 minutes ago because it was all covered. But now but it is open and it is the red carpet. And yes, I'll give you a little bit of dish because here at the academy awards you may be able to kind of get the motto "even if you don't win, you win". And that's because of the gift bags, the swag bags that the nominees take home.

Now get this, even if they don't win, they take home a gift bag that's worth $50,000. $50,000 -- They get trips to Hawaii, trips to Australia, circus classes for their children in this gift bag. There's even a one year membership to London Heathrow airport's VIP service. Lots of real cool things. You know, there's even some handcrafted tennis shoes that are in this gift bag. Just about anything you can imagine. It's almost like the rich get richer situation that we see.

I also talked to some people, Carol, that they call the Bleacher Creatures, who are the fans that you see there on the bleachers behind me. These people get to come for their Hollywood experience at the Oscars, but they get to be put into this lottery -- 20,000 people enter this lottery to be one of 700 people that get to sit in those bleachers.

Now, they don't get a $50,000 gift bag. They do get small parting gift from the academy. They don't get their trip paid for. They have to pay for everything. They had to come here at 8:00 in the morning, sit in those bleachers all day, because the red carpet doesn't open until 3:00. They tell them don't wear your finest duds because you're going to be packed in there.

COSTELLO: I don't know if I would do that. Nischelle Turner. Thanks for dirt. We appreciate it.

OK, now it's time for "Talk Back's" take on the Oscars. We're calling our awards, "The Cappies". Awards for the best political moments of the year. Three categories and our panelists pick the winners.

First off, the Cappy for Best Political Smackdown, and the nominees are Hillary Clinton testifying on Benghazi.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were misled that there were supposedly protests and something sprang out of that -- an assault spraying out of that. That was easily -- ascertained that that was not the fact and the American people could have known that within days and they didn't know that.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: With all due respect, the fact is we have four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night that decided they would kill Americans. What difference, at this point does it make?


COSTELLO: Our second nominee in this category, John McCain versus one of his constituents at a town hall.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: This is an Orwellian experience. I've had enough. Sir, we have had enough. We've had enough sir.


MCCAIN: We have had enough time, pal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't listen to us.


MCCAIN: You know something, again, I have had town hall meetings for 30 years. People are very happy that I have town hall meetings and I listen to them and get back to them. That's what this is all about but occasionally I get a jerk like you in here. So thank you.


COSTELLO: OK. Our third nominee in this category, Best Political Smackdown, Tagg Romney defending his dad after a presidential debate.


BILL LUMAYE, RADIO HOST: What is it like for you to hear the President of the United States call your dad a liar? How do you react to that.

TAGG ROMNEY, SON OF MITT ROMNEY: You jump out of your seat and you want to rush down to the debate stage and take a swing at him. You can't do that because there's a lot of Secret Service between you and him but also because it's the nature of the process.


COSTELLO: And of course Tagg later apologized for that.

But I know it took heavy duty thought on our panelists' part to pick a winner. So I just want to go through the three of you to find out. Do these political smackdowns in the grand scheme of things really matter in our political world and how things get done, Robert?

ZIMMERMAN: They shouldn't matter quite frankly, but in some respects they do reshape the debate. Hillary Clinton is a good example of why I've chosen her. Because, in fact, when she stood up to Senators John and Paul for trying to play partisan politics with the tragic death of four Americans, it did change the debate. And I've put things in their proper perspective.

I got to give an honorable mention to Tagg Romney, though, when he said that his dad really wanted to be president after running for seven years. That deserves a pretty good recognition for performance

COSTELLO: I kind of like John McCain myself, Ana.

NAVARRO: Well, I think, you know -- and I think it's for John it's "Rocky 1", "Rocky 2", "Rocky 3" because you know -- this is a sequel for John. It's not a strange occurrence for John McCain to get a feisty person at a town hall and for John McCain to get equally feisty at that town hall.

I actually had missed John McCain doing this. I think it's great. I think it shows voters, it shows the American people that all politicians are not staged. They're not all scripted. They get mad, that they have feelings and that they are capable of spewing out every now and then.

COSTELLO: Yes. I'm sure, Jason, that's part of why Tagg Romney said what he did. I mean, it's his dad and all these political arrows are shooting right at him.

JOHNSON: Well see, I would have to give Tagg kind of an incomplete. I would love to see him take a swing at Obama. I don't think he could get him. But I mean, realistically speaking, you know, it's good acting on his behalf but I have to give it to Hillary Clinton. She's fantastic at creating a feeling of indignance no matter what she's actually caught for doing. It stems from her 20-year career of acting all the way back to the Clinton Administration. So Hillary, I think, was the best actor in this one.

COSTELLO: OK, it is time to announce the Cappy winner for Best Political Smackdown. You knew it was going to be Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton. I'm sure she's honored today.

OK, our second category, Best Dramatic Performance. The nominees are John Boehner for his crying.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: If you come here humbled by the opportunity to serve, if you have come here to be --


COSTELLO: OK, the second nominee for Best Dramatic Political Moment, the unveiling of Michelle Obama's bangs.

And our third nominee in this category which first came through a Twitter -- oh I'm sorry -- and our final nominee -- I'm messing this up. Now I know how hard it is to do the actual Oscars. Our final nominee is Nancy Pelosi, who was not happy when asked about her age.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of your colleagues privately say that your decision to stay on prohibits the party from having a younger leadership and will be hurt -- it hurts the party in the long term. What is your response?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Next, next. I guess -- you always ask that question except to Mitch McConnell. Let's for a moment honor it as a legitimate question although it's quite offensive -- (END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: OK, let's get right to the winner in this category. The winner is -- that would be Nancy Pelosi. Although I don't think Nancy Pelosi's answer actually endeared her to many people, but who knows? It was interesting to watch.

Our final category and I want to get to this: Biggest Political Gaffe. Our first nominee President Obama and --


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you have been successful you didn't get there on your own. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you got a business, you didn't build that.


COSTELLO: Or his former rival, Mitt Romney.


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: All right. There are 47 percent who are with him who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has that responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.


COSTELLO: And what about Marco Rubio.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Since I have been here in Washington, nothing has frustrated me more than false choices like the one the President laid out tonight.


COSTELLO: And the winner for Best Political Gaffe is Mitt Romney. And quickly just to wrap this up, Jason Johnson, Mitt Romney -- why was that the winner in this category?

JOHNSON: It literally cost this man the election. When you can deliver one line that costs you a once in a lifetime opportunity you have been shooting for since you were born, that's an amazing performance. That's the biggest gaffe of all time.

COSTELLO: Or Marco Rubio's which had positive effects, right -- the other side of the coin because he made lots of -- go ahead Ana. NAVARRO: I do think that Marco Rubio was the biggest blockbuster. He has managed to sell more than 3,500 water bottles since then for his PAC and raised over $100,000. So I think he gets the biggest ticket sale award for sure. And also, you know, he handled it very well after the fact. He laughed at himself.

COSTELLO: He sure did. He did.

NAVARRO: People aren't used to seeing politicians laugh at themselves and not take everything so seriously. So good for Marco. He gets the best comedy.

COSTELLO: Ana, Jason, Robert, thank you so much for joining us today.

The next hour of NEWSROOM after a quick break.


COSTELLO: I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me today. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Christine Romans.