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Rick's List

Boehner vs. Obama; Michael Steele Under Fire Over Afghanistan Comments

Aired July 02, 2010 - 15:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Unbelievable video is coming out of Afghanistan. It's war video that you have to see, but it's coming -- here's the political part of this -- it's coming on the very same day that Michael Steele, Republican Michael Steele, is saying that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable.

Here's the rest of RICK'S LIST.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Here's what is making the LIST today.

Washington grudge match: Boehner vs. the president, round one.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The leader of the Republicans in the House compared the financial crisis to an ant. You can't be that out of touch.

SANCHEZ: Round two.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Obama spends an awful lot of time making excuses and whining about others. The American people want leadership, not childish partisanship.

OBAMA: Boehner vs. Obama. And now Boehner vs. Cantor?

New numbers are out. Where is our economy going? Unemployment, housing, what you need to know.

How mad is Mad Max? First, Jews, then women. Now blacks? Now another rant, this time with a very liberal use of the N-word.

JOHN WATHEN, HURRICANE CREEKKEEPER: Nothing can live in these rainbows of death that cover the entire horizon.

SANCHEZ: The pilot's video you saw here that garnered a huge reaction. But is he violating the no-fly rule?

He says he isn't stopping.

The lists you need to know about. Who's today's most intriguing? Who's landed on the list you don't want to be on? Who's making news on Twitter? It's why I keep a list.

Pioneering tomorrow's cutting-edge news right now. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Hi, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez.

This is the kind of day it's been. This lead that I'm about to read you is the third today. That's how many times we have changed it over the course of the day, as things have changed and progressed.

So, now let's go with this developing story. It's coming out of Washington. Republican National Committee Chairman -- hear me out -- Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, well, he's done it again.

And a top Republican figure is calling on Steele now to resign because of what he has said. I want you to listen, first of all, to Michael Steele. He's talking about the war in Afghanistan. This is YouTube video. We have just turned it around literally within seconds. Watch and listen closely.


MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Keep in mind again, our federal candidates, this is a war of Obama's choosing. This is not -- this is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.


SANCHEZ: All right, did you hear what he just said in -- what he just said there about this being a war of Obama's choosing? Let me just go back to this real quick to make sure that we're all on the same page here. These are Steele's comments.

He says: "This is a war of Obama's choosing. This is not something the United States actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in."

Huh? The statement is at odds with the fact that the United States led a NATO coalition with overwhelming public support to invade Afghanistan. That's what's being said now by other Republicans.

What Steele just said certainly seems to run counter to his party's position, especially when he was saying that Afghanistan is unwinnable. Now, some Republicans are furious with him.

And, by the way, his timing could not have been worse. He didn't know this, but there have been several attacks today against our troops in Afghanistan. In fact, we're just now getting video of some of those, and I'm going to be showing them to you throughout the show.

Let's go quickly to our senior political director, Mark Preston, just to pick up on the politics of this.

Mark, I understand there are a bevy of Republicans who are already coming out and criticizing Steele, some of them calling for his resignation. MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Sure.

And the most prominent now, Rick, is William Kristol. He's the editor over at "The Weekly Standard." And, in fact,, he posted a statement on that magazine's Web site. "The Weekly Standard" is a conservative news magazine, now, Rick.

William Kristol has asked for Michael Steele to step down. I can tell you, in the last couple of hours, Michael Steele has tried to backpedal on his statement that was picked up by that camera the other night.

He, in fact, says that there's no question that America must win this war on terror. Heading into the Fourth of July holiday right now, this is not something, Rick, that the Republican Party, that rank-and-file Republicans want to have to explain when they go back home and talk to their constituents.

SANCHEZ: And what is interesting about this is it's an important conversation. It's a conversation that our country should be having. But politically, politically, for Michael Steele, this could be as akin to suicide as anything he's said yet.

We will leave it at that. We're taking this story and putting it right here. We're coming back to it in just a little bit, because I have some unbelievable video.

And, Mark, you're going to be joining us in another five or six minutes, I understand. So, hang tight.

I want to take you to something else now. Ready? Now to the Gulf crisis, the other Gulf. Here's how Hurricane Alex has affected it. Strong winds, choppy waves are still complicating the cleanup effort, still, even though the hurricane's gone.

According to BP, Alex created waves of up to 12 feet. Hundreds of oil skimmers had to be docked. A BP spokesperson says the winds also affected a cap. Yes, you know, that cap, the one that's trying to capture the oil that's gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, that one right there.

The cap can be seen actually bouncing in the water at times. And this raises the question, is BP capturing less oil now? Also, give me a shot of the booms. Remember these things, these big booms here? They were laid out to keep the oil from reaching the shore, right?

Well, the rough seas may force crews to replace or have to reorganize.

And joining me is Philippe Cousteau, who is's newest contributor.

First of all, Philippe, welcome to the family.

PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks. Thanks very much, Rick. SANCHEZ: All right, you and I are going to look at a couple of pictures here, because these things have gone viral on the Internet. And I was stunned when I first saw this.

It's as good a report as I have seen from any network or newspaper producer in this country. Watch this video. It's produced by a defiant pilot. His name is John Wathen. And when you look at what he says about the dispersants mixing with the oil, the burning of the oil and the animals and how they're being affected in the Gulf, you get a real insider's perspective on this thing.

Roll it, Rog.


WATHEN: From the size of these fires, it seems as though we're not only trying to kill everything in the Gulf of Mexico, but everything that flies over it as well.

This toxic environment can't be good for the birds that fly over the Gulf and certainly nothing can live in these rainbows of death that cover the entire horizon.


SANCHEZ: It's incredible to watch. This thing goes on for quite a bit. We're going to show you different parts of it. But let's stop it right there.

And I guess what I come away with as I watch him explaining -- talking about the dispersants, the animals, the smoke, is the cure in this case as harmful as the disease itself? I'm speaking, obviously, metaphorically, but you get my drift, right?

COUSTEAU: Well, absolutely. And actually I met John on my last trip down to the Gulf about a week ago. And I will be headed back down next week.

And I think very much this helps illustrate just how unprepared for this spill we were and that our solutions, burning, skimming, these feeble booms that do very, very little, on average catch only about 20 percent of the oil, the application of these toxic chemical dispersants that I filmed the first time I went to the Gulf diving underwater about two months ago, these solutions aren't very much solutions at all.

And as we see, the oil is washing up on the shores. It's not really helping the situation. And with a storm like Alex that didn't even hit the site, let alone the multiple storms that are probably coming the rest of the year...

SANCHEZ: Oh, yes.

COUSTEAU: ... it's not good.

SANCHEZ: By the way, this next video that I'm going to share with you, this is kind of heartbreaking, especially for guys like you and guys like me. I grew up in Miami. I have been around these waters my whole life. Watch the effect it's having on sea life there. Go ahead, Rog. Hit this next -- hit -- this is number two.


WATHEN: Then we found this guy. A sperm whale swimming in the oil had just breached. Along his back, we could see red patches of crude, as if he had been basted for broiling.

Then there was this pod of dolphins found later, some already dead, some in their death throes. It seemed to be that they were raising their heads and looking at the fires, wondering, why is my world burning down around me? Why would humans do this to me?

As we approached the Chandeleur Islands, I wasn't surprised to see patches of oil along the beach. Given the difficulty in putting boom out and making it stay along these islands, it's going to be impossible to try and keep the oil out. I shudder to think what's going to happen when a storm does some through here.

All the oil that we have just flown over will be alongside this. The marshes and all this boom that you see now will be piled up on the shore covered with oil.


SANCHEZ: This guy tells a hell of a story. And you know what's interesting about him? There's supposed to be a no-fly zone over this oil. As a journalist, it makes me think that they don't want planes flying over this area because they don't want this story told.

COUSTEAU: Of course not.

SANCHEZ: But this guy tells a story as well as anybody I have ever heard tell a story.

And now we're hearing, by the way, the the EPA wants the dispersant usage dropped to 75 percent. BP's declined to drop it. They're saying, by the way, that this thing -- this dispersant they're using is no more toxic than house soap. Are they right?

COUSTEAU: Not from my understanding.

When we went diving in this, we had to wear full hazmat equipment. All the research that I have seen is quite opposite. You wouldn't want this in your own kitchen. You wouldn't want this stuff in your house. It affects the nervous system. It attacks red blood cells. It causes dizziness, headaches. And that's even with short- term exposure.

So, no, this chemical dispersant is quite toxic, and it's very concerning they're applying this much into the Gulf. But, listen, it makes it out of sight. And when things are out of sight, it's a lot easier for them to be out of mind.


COUSTEAU: And I think that has to do a lot with it.

SANCHEZ: Well, let's keep it in sight. Here's another clip. Roger, roll this third part.


WATHEN: At 23 miles out, we encountered the heaviest sheens yet. Some of it looks as if a child had sprayed silly string all over the surface, but there's nothing silly about these strings of oil that float on the Gulf of Mexico today.


SANCHEZ: He's good.

Look, are we as Americans -- it's not until you look at these pictures, as grandiose as they appear on this big screen, that we start to really get the impact of this.

Are we as Americans underestimating the impact of this story in the Gulf because it's gone on for so long?

WATHEN: Well, I think that's one of the big challenges, Rick, with this whole disaster, is just that it's something that's lasting a very, very long time.

And we have a short attention span in this country. And we have to remember this is far from over. And it's very likely going to get a lot worse before it gets better. And I think John is an example of the anger and the resiliency at the same time and the passion that so many of the people feel along the Gulf. And especially here in this Fourth of July weekend, it reminds us about spending time with our families on the beach and swimming in the water. And this is an affront against our entire country.


Well, I'll tell you what. And there are some people who are saying, we're still not sure if actually -- we had all been told and we felt reassured that, by August, we're going to be done with this thing. Now I'm hearing that there's a possibility that it may not be done by August. And...

COUSTEAU: Well, they have got to drill through 18,000 feet of rock to hit a pipe that's seven inches wide.

SANCHEZ: Good luck.

COUSTEAU: Relief wells are not a guaranteed solution the first time. I certainly hope beyond hope, though, that these will be successful.

SANCHEZ: Philippe Cousteau, a good-looking guy, part of the new CNN family. The gals in the control room say, we didn't have you on enough. So, we will get you back. All right. Thanks, man.

WATHEN: Pleasure. Any time, Rick. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: You're a smart guy. Appreciate your time.

All right, take a look at this, authorities in California bracing for a disturbance. Why? Remember this story? We brought it to you. A police officer shoots an unarmed man. He says it was a mistake. Will the jury buy it? What a story this is.

We're waiting for the jury to come back any moment now. And when they do, police are going to set up command units on the streets. Wow.

And then there's Robert Byrd, a life of contradictions that included racism at one point in his life and standing up for minorities at another point in his life.

But the big story we're following today is in Afghanistan, both politically and militarily, politically, because of what the leader of the Republican Party has said, and militarily because we are about to turn around some pictures that are mind-blowing.

Wait until you see this. It's impactful stuff. Well, wait until you see it. I will leave it at that. This is your national conversation.

This is RICK'S LIST. I'm Rick Sanchez. We will be right back.


SANCHEZ: There is a story a lot of Americans have been thinking about a lot this week because it's as much as anything else the story of, well, vindication.

Making the LIST today: West Virginia honors its native son, Senator Robert Byrd. The president, several members of Congress, West Virginia's governor were among those attending the memorial service. Byrd died Monday at the age of 92. He was the longest serving member of Congress.

President Obama gave the eulogy and called Byrd a political legend.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And as I reflect on the full sweep of his 92 years, it seems to me that his life bent towards justice. Like the Constitution he tucked in his pocket, like our nation itself, Robert Byrd possessed that quintessential American quality and that is a capacity to change, a capacity to learn, a capacity to listen, a capacity to be made more perfect.


SANCHEZ: What the president is referring to is the fact that Robert Byrd was once a devout racist. That's right, a racist.

And yet he went on as a legislator to become one of the deans in the U.S. government, when it came to representing the rights of minorities. That's what the president said when he said it proves that a man can change. Everyone had stories to tell about Senator Byrd. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remembered being intimidated by him in the early days.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I will never forget a dinner I hosted for him in the early 80's when he was running for reelection at that time, in California.

After dinner, we didn't know what to expect. We were all so nervous to be in the presence of such a great person. And what did he do? He pulled out his fiddle and regaled us with West Virginia tunes and told us great stories about each and every one of you.


SANCHEZ: That's where country music was born, by the way. Senator Byrd is going to be buried Tuesday next to his wife during a private service at the Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. We will cover it for you.

John Boehner fighting with President Obama. Is Boehner also fighting with someone in his own party?

And then there's the wine and the cigarettes. That's next on the LIST. This is your national conversation. We will be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back.

Man, a lot of politics going on, on this day. Happy to be covering it for you, getting a lot of reaction from you. We call this the national conversation because we keep tabs on what you're saying, as well, on Twitter and the like.

And you're saying a lot. And many of you are saying that you find it somewhat amusing, this back and forth that's going on that started this week between the president of the United States and House Minority Leader John Boehner.

At the moment, the last word belongs to Congressman Boehner. Here, take a listen to this. Rog, put it up for me.


BOEHNER: For someone who asked to be held to a higher standard, President Obama spends an awful lot of time making excuses and whining about others.


SANCHEZ: OK. Let me back you up a little bit on this thing. It started in earnest when Boehner gave an interview saying that Wall Street's reforms are like taking a nuclear weapon to an ant, or an ant, the ant apparently being our nation's financial meltdown.

So, Mr. Obama comes out and then mocks Boehner, calling Boehner out of touch, saying, how can you compare this to an ant when the president who was here before me said that we were in the midst of a meltdown?

Boehner accused Obama of childish partisanship and then called him a whiner and on and on.

Mark Preston is our senior political correspondent and he is joining us now.

You can tell we're getting close to the midterms when presidents start responding politically to senators and congressmen. And this may be no different, right?

PRESTON: Yes, this is no different.

And, look, the Republican Party has Nancy Pelosi and President Obama to hold up as their boogeymen, right? That's who they -- when they're trying to energize their base.

Now, who do the Democratic Party have to choose as their boogeymen? They have Rush Limbaugh. They try to use him. They used to have Newt Gingrich. What they do is that they need some people in Congress that they can try to point out and call out. And I think that what we're seeing in this case with President Obama calling out John Boehner.

SANCHEZ: But there's something different developing now. For the first time -- it's one thing for a Democratic president to get in a fight with a Republican congressman. It's another thing for a Republican congressman who is the minority leader of his party to start to get criticism and get called out from fellow Republicans.

I mean, you got Joe Scarborough, who used to be a Republican congressman from Florida, as he will tell you again and again and again. Joe's a good guy. But he called out John Boehner earlier this week, saying or suggesting that people tend to talk about the fact that he's lazy, that he might hang out in bars from time to time.

And now there's this schism apparently between Boehner and Cantor, who's the young buck of the Republican Party. Some people are saying maybe he should get that gig. And now Boehner's being asked these questions about his social life, if you get my drift. Here, take a listen to this sound. And, Mark, let's you and I talk about it on the other side.


BOEHNER: I like to cut my own grass. I wash and iron my own shirts. I drink some red wine, smoke a few cigarettes from time to time, play golf. And, frankly, I'm not willing to give up that little bit of life that I have.



SANCHEZ: A lot of guys would say, sounds like a good guy to me. Give me his number. Let's go play golf.

But, given what Scarborough and other Republicans hint is being said about him, are those words going to come back to haunt him, especially as a Republican with a base that doesn't necessarily cotton to this kind of stuff?

PRESTON: Well, I mean, let's just talk about John Boehner as a person. He makes no bones about the fact that he smokes. He's a chain smoker. Everybody in town knows it. He does like to have a drink.

He makes no bones about that, and he loves to play golf. Look at the tan that he has, Rick. However, a lot of those golf outings that he participates in are fund-raisers for Republicans, for his fellow colleagues.

So, I don't think that John Boehner is necessarily lazy. I do believe that Joe Scarborough has inroads in the Republican Conference, where Republicans are expressing some frustration with him. But John Boehner is a member's member. He's a Republican's Republican. He tries to raise money for them. He is trying to win back the House of Representatives.

Between him and Cantor, you're talking about two different styles now. You have this young upstart in Eric Cantor, and you have John Boehner, who's been around for a while. However, Cantor says he's not going to challenge him, if Boehner helps win back the speakership, helps take back the majority.

SANCHEZ: But here's the deal. I mean, look, let's talk the real skinny here, OK, you and I, like we always do, when you and I get on the phone and chat. All right?

Republicans looked like they had this thing handed to them, like the midterms are going to go their way. Suddenly you have got a leader seeming to have in fights with his own party. You have got a leader who's suggesting that we need to raise the Social Security age. You have got Michael Steele going out and saying that this is Obama's war that's not winnable in Afghanistan.

This doesn't sound like Republican mantra lines. And those things will likely have an effect on their constituency. It just -- look, I'm not talking about what's right or what's wrong. What I'm talking about is, is it politically smart? It doesn't sound like it, Mark.

PRESTON: No, and it doesn't. And let's go back a couple of weeks, where Joe Barton, the congressman from Texas, came out and apologized to BP for the shakedown of the Obama administration, which was devastating in Republican eyes.

And he was quickly rebuked by Boehner and Eric Cantor. What I will tell you is that Boehner and Eric Cantor, whatever friction or tension that they might have, a lot of it's probably driven by their staff, they are united probably in their frustration with Michael Steele. They don't want Michael Steele talking about these public policy proposals.

But, look, Eric Cantor has got to be very careful. And I think he will be. He's a smart guy, Rick. He's going to sit back. He will see what happens. And he will be laying in wait.

If John Boehner stumbles, Eric Cantor will be there for him. But I wouldn't expect any kind of movement by Eric Cantor to try to topple John Boehner, whether they win or lose in November.

SANCHEZ: Fascinating conversation. Love talking politics with you, our political editor, Mark Preston. Thanks, buddy.

PRESTON: Thanks, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The jury is not the issue, whether it had all black or white, Hispanic or Asian, even mixed, right? If the jurors are given the correct evidence, all the evidence, they will make the best decision on the evidence that's presented.


SANCHEZ: Oakland is bracing for a jury's decision, and police fear it could lead to a disturbance. We're there. We're covering this story. As soon as the jury comes back, we will let you know what their decision is. So, hang with us here, West Coast.

Also, it's not often that you see a gas station on wheels, let alone stuck underneath an overpass. Well, you do here.

And then our most intriguing person in the news is an athlete who gets to do what most guys wish they could do all the time. What could we be talking about? Start guessing. Shoot me a tweet.

We will be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Time to check the list of the most intriguing people in the news on this day. This is one of the most decorated athletes in the history of his sport. You're thinking big muscles or something, right? He's won the preeminent American tournament a record six times. He's been living and training in New York since March to be in peak shape for this weekend's competition. Who are we talking about?

A contract dispute with event organizers may keep him out of the contest. He says he calls it too restrictive because it bars him from competing elsewhere in the United States or Canada for a year. The Major League Eating Association president says this about our most intriguing person, quote, "is currently not scheduled to compete in the 2010 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest."

Major League Eating has sought to arrive at an agreement but contract negotiations have reached an impasse.

What's this big eater look like? That's him. Our most intrigue person is Takeru Kobayashi, one of the most recognizable athletes in the history of competitive eating. Where does he put it all? He's the world record holder in the 30-minute rice bowls category -- didn't know they had such a thing, as well as the 15-minute cow brain and lobster rolls categories. Doesn't that sound delicious, ladies?

Look, I know I'm a journalist and I'm supposed to stay impartial and just report the news. But I implore all parties involved to reach an agreement in this most important endeavor. The nation's hot dog eating contest will not be the same if Kobayashi is not battling the hot dog eating champ, Joey Chestnut, swallow for swallow.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says to his baby momma, if you are raped by a pack of "n" words, then it's probably going to be your fault.


SANCHEZ: Please say it ain't so. Please say it ain't so. Mel Gibson caught on tape actually saying things that are worse, much worse than what he told the female police officer in California back when. You remember? About her breasts and the Jews destroying the world? We're drilling down on this one. Wait till you hear it.

Also, what would you do if you were walking downtown and ran smack into that? I am not going to say it. I am not going to say it. I will not say moose on the loose. Darn it, I just did. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Let's get through this newscast, shall we? Remember those flying cars in the Jetsons? I loved that show growing up as a kid. Well, the future is here. Let's do "Fotos."

Ladies and gentlemen, a flying car. I'm not kidding. This is called the Terafujia Transition. It's poised to soar into production after clearance by the FAA. It's totally street league and it's pretty green, too. It gets 30 miles to the gallon. If traffic's bad, the wings fold out and you take off. If the weather's bad, you fold up the wings and drive it home on a regular street. In other words, you're driving down the street, you see there's too much traffic, you go to the nearest runway and you take off. It's less than a Rolls Royce, only $200,000. Not bad, huh?

Convenience stores have never been so convenient. For a fill-up and a steaming cup of coffee, you just pull in. But this one in Iowa is blocking the road, and that's not convenient at all. Crews moving a historic gas station had to stop when the chimney almost got stuck under a bridge. Nobody measured the darn thing.

Look out, Portland, this is there is a moose -- I'm not going to say it. Four police cars, two game wardens, trucks, and a state wildlife biologist were no match for this beast. After several attempts to hit it with tranquilizers, the moose disappeared. Just one time, though, OK, Pam? Moose on the loose.

You can see all the "Fotos" on my blog at

There are new numbers out today and it tells us a lot about where our economy is going. Housing numbers, unemployment numbers. The unemployment numbers are interesting because what they say is we ain't doing so well, as Yogi Berra would say. But if you look at them a different way, you'd say, we're doing better than we were before. I'll take you through it, I promise.

Also, cell phone video has already led to several protests. Now a jury is deciding whether a police officer is guilty of shooting an unarmed man. Police are bracing for possible unrest in Oakland, California, if the jury comes back with a certain verdict. We're all over this. As soon as it comes in, we'll share it with you. Stay right there.


SANCHEZ: All right, we've got video of an attack in Afghanistan that we're going to be showing you in just a little bit. We're getting that video ready. Stand by. I think we're going to have that at the very top of our next hour.

In the meantime, I need to let you know that there's a very important story taking place out west right now. The images -- these images right here that shocked a city. And now the entire Bay Area is on edge.

Look closely at this amateur video taken New Year's Day, 2009 in the San Francisco bay area. It shows a transit officer shooting an unarmed man who was laying facedown in an Oakland train platform. Anytime a police officer comes up and takes out a gun and shoots an unarmed man, obviously it's going to have one hell of a reaction.

This one gets more interesting, though. The unarmed man died, and to up the ante on this one, the officer's white, the victim IS an African-American, and this potentially explosive case with all the racial undertones is now in the hands of a jury. They got it just a few minutes ago. A decision is imminent.

The police in the bay area are now poised for what could be a violent reaction. And the verdict should be coming in any moment now.

There is concern that things could spin out of control here. This is one of the meetings held by community groups in the Bay Area urging people to respond peacefully to whichever way that this verdict goes.

Now, remember, the police officer in this case says, I didn't mean to shoot him, I thought I was reaching for my stun gun and I accidentally grabbed the wrong weapon. Some people are saying they don't buy that. It's up to the jury, and we're going to follow this thing as it comes out.

Areas are now being set up where people can gather and express their reactions, but they're also being urged to stay calm. Police will obviously be in field forces throughout the area as they commonly do.

Highlights that came out during the trial so far, the officer testified that he was having trouble handcuffing the 22-year-old suspect. Once again, he said he tried to reach for his stun gun and got confused and messed up and killed the guy in cold blood.

Three other transit officers testified that the defendant never told them the shooting was an accident. They say he never mentioned anything about the stun gun prior to being asked about a reason for why it happened. They're finding that a little curious.

Prosecutors have argued the shooting was intentional. The jury is allowed to consider manslaughter instead of second-degree homicide. Trial's been moved to Los Angeles because of all pretrial publicity and anger the fatal shooting stoked in Oakland where the shooting took place.

One final thing, that shooting was videotaped by several train passengers and has drawn comparisons to the trial of the four Los Angeles police officers charged in the 1981 videotaped beating of Rodney King.

Take a look at this. Mel Gibson is back in the spotlight. Is this another round for Mad Max? First it was Jews, then women. Now what he says about blacks using the "n" word liberally is as amazing as anything we've ever heard this man utter. What is going on with Mel Gibson? We'll report this. We'll tell you what's being said, what both sides are saying.

Also, why some prisoners are saying it's better inside the pen than outside the pen. Huh? We'll take you through that one.

And once again, the big story today out of Afghanistan, politically and militarily, both sides when we come back.


SANCHEZ: Once again, we almost have that videotape coming out of Afghanistan, an actual firefight where you will see a soldier being shot in combat, and how the other soldiers respond to it. That's just coming in. We'll be able to turn that around for you in just a little bit.

Before we do that, I want to take you inside of a prison, first of all. This is where the inmates in this prison are saying they have found a way to save money. Why are they saying that they may in some cases have it better off than those on the outside? What? Ayesha Teshpar explains in this week's "Solutions."


AYESHA TEJPAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Behind these rows of barbed wire at the Stafford Corrections Center in Washington State, something new is growing. The inmates are learning to live green, which can save tax payers dollars. Prisoners here recycle, compost, plant organic farms, and raise bees to sell the honey. Prison officials say they first went green for the financial, not environmental benefits.

PAT GLEBE, PRISON SUPERINTENDANT: We're seeing probably between $150,000 and $200,000 a year. We got into it as a way to save money but I found it benefits every facility organization. Offenders like it. The place looks better. They're learning new skills.

TEJPAR: Skills that may help the inmates transition back into the real world.

TONY ERHART, PRISON INMATE: I don't feel like I'm languishing. I look forward to coming to work every day. How many people can say that on either side of the fence?

TEJPAR: Administrators say a drop in violence among inmates participating in the program and the services prisoners provide have convinced them to expand the green effort to other state prisons.

Ayesha Teshpar, CNN.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 23 miles out that we encountered the heaviest sheen yet. Some of it looks as if a child sprayed silly string all over the surface. There's nothing silly about these strings of oil that float on the Gulf of Mexico today.


SANCHEZ: It's like he has a way with words, doesn't it? You look at these pictures over the Gulf. You look at the man who shot it and the way he describes it and you start to get a real sense of the scope of this catastrophe. He describes the scene looking at times like bruised internal organs, and as you heard him say there, silly string. This is an interesting take on this. We'll have more on that videotape that keeps coming in.

By the way, he's told that he shouldn't be flying there because it's a no fly zone and he said no I'm going to keep flying. So the press secretary is tweeting on the economy and John Boehner is responding once again. We'll have that for you in a little bit. Stay there.


SANCHEZ: We follow for you those things that are being tweeted, not just by you -- I've been reading all of your tweets just during these last couple of commercials -- but also by the people who are relevant to the news that we follow, like John Boehner, like, for example, the press secretary for the president of the United States.

In fact, there is a little tit for tat going on. We'll start with John Boehner. Here's what he says. "Press secretary, since your first $1 trillion stimulus more than 3 million Americans have lost their jobs. Where are the jobs?" Asks John Boehner with this tweet.

To which the press secretary responds. Isn't this twitter thing amazing now? "How soon GOP leader Eric Cantor forgets: last six months of '08 equals 3 million private jobs lost. First six months of 2010 equals 600,000 private jobs created."

So there you go. It's Obama's guy saying, we're creating jobs. You guys blew them. The Republicans are saying, no, you're not creating anything. And on and on it goes.

Look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says to his baby mama if you're raped by a pack of "n" words that it's probably going to be your fault.


SANCHEZ: Some of you are tweeting me, in fact I'm reading these as I go telling me, why are you covering the Mel Gibson story? That's not really news. I'm thinking, it's not? Mel Gibson, one of the most renowned actors, who is very politically involved, caught on tape in the past saying things about Jews and about women?

Wait until you hear what he's saying about African-Americans now. It's -- I don't like using this word, but it's shocking.

Also gunfights caught on the front line of Afghanistan. We have some unbelievably dramatic pictures that put in perspective this argument going on today about whether Afghanistan is winnable and the infighting in the Republican Party where people are asking Michael Steele to step down within the last couple hours.

Stay here. This is your national conversation. So much going on. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. Now to Mel Gibson. He is back on the list. Another tirade, and this one may be even more offensive than some of the others you've heard from him in the past.

First, let's start with a look back. This is 2006 I'm taking you to. This is a drunken meltdown. He referred to a female officer's breasts with the word "sugar" in front of it, and then went on to blame Jews for all the world's problems and wars.

Now in a recorded conversation with not his ex-wife but rather his ex-girlfriend who is the mother of his seven-month-old daughter, he allegedly says, the following. Get ready. OK, because this is brutally ugly.

Quote, "You are an embarrassment to me. You look like a blanking pig in heat. And if you get raped by a pack of "n" words, it will be your fault." and TMZ say they've heard this latest tape. Here is TMZ's Mike Walters. He was on Joy Behar last night. Listen to this.


JOY BEHAR, CNN HLN HOST: He's back. Mel Gibson is at it again. TMZ confirms that the actor was caught on tape screaming at his baby's mama. Here with the details is somebody who knows what's on that tape, Mike Walters from TMZ. Mike, what does he say?

MICHAEL WALTERS, TMZ.COM: Well, you know what? These tapes are unbelievable. And I can tell you two things. Number one, they're going to court today to figure out how these got out, so you know they're real because Mel Gibson wants to know.

This is the saddest thing about Mel Gibson. I can't even say them on "Headline News" or CNN, but I can tell you basically he said to his baby's mama, "If you're raped by a pack of "n" words, that it's probably going to be your fault."

And he used that word, after all Mel Gibson's background, joy, we've talked about it before, after what he said about the Jewish community, in his DUI arrest, how can he use this word? And is this the real Mel Gibson?


SANCHEZ: By the way, his ex-girlfriend is reported to have recorded the tapes when her relationship with Gibson started to go sour. They are no doubt in a bitter child custody battle. The tape appears to include Gibson allegedly calling his ex-girlfriend the "c" word among others. He even at one point allegedly threatens to burn down her house.

Here's Walters and what he says, when he is asked whether he believes this is no doubt Mel Gibson on tape.