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Rep. Sandy Adams Fights for Violence Against Women Act; Interview with Rep. Charlie Rangel; Does America Need a Good Business Guy or Someone People Can Relate To; Getting Rid of a Spy
Aired May 16, 2012 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": It's 11:00 on the East Coast, 8:00 out West.
Airport security, what is supposed to keep you and me safe, all the scanners, the pat-downs, all the time and effort, now, unfortunately, we've got our hands on a report that details lapses in TSA screening.
Homeland Security took a hard look at checkpoints at Newark airport and five others that are not being named. Listen to this. The majority of breaches are never even reported to Washington. And almost half of them, never corrected.
CNN's Lizzie O'Leary watching a congressional hearing that's underway right now. Let's talk about the facts, the figures. Lizzie, what the heck is going on and why?
LIZZIE O'LEARY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What's going on here, Kyra, is you had folks, notably a senator from New Jersey, start to notice reports of incidents -- a lot of them were at Newark airport -- about things going wrong. A knife getting through a screening checkpoint. A dead dog that was not screened for explosives before it was loaded on a plane.
So the numbers, you cited them. Let's put them up so people can see. Forty-two percent of those security breaches were reported to headquarters then only about 53 percent of them were corrected, overall. And there's no central reporting system, so they couldn't get the 30,000-foot view of what's going on.
We've been listening to the hearing. Listen to what members of congress are asking the TSA inspector general about how exactly all of this happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: So there is no depository where one could go and pull up all of the breaches that have occurred?
CHARLES EDWARDS, DHS INSPECTOR GENERAL: Well, first, they need to have, like I said earlier and the chairman alluded to, there needs to be a clear definition of what a breach is. And then TSA needs to give clear guidance to the airports, what to report and when to report. And then TSA needs to follow through that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'LEARY: So really the picture here is of a scatter-shot system without a centralized way for everyone to be on the same page and report it so that they can understand any patterns and make bigger shifts in behavior, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: All right, so new measures, remedies to deal with all of this?
O'LEARY: Exactly. That's what TSA is saying that they want to do. They have already taken some of those steps and they are trying to have this broader database so that it's not just the actions of one screener and then maybe they don't get written down and that's not translated.
Remember, this is a very large workforce we're talking about, some 50,000, 60,000 people, so what they are trying to do is have a much, much broader picture so that these things don't happen again.
PHILLIPS: Lizzie, thanks.
A big settlement in the beating death of Kelly Thomas. The city of Fullerton, California, is shelling out $1 million. Kelly's mom and her son, a mentally-ill homeless man, died after being beaten by Fullerton police.
The city council voted unanimously to accept the million dollar settlement. In exchange, affiliate KCAL reports that Cathy Thomas agreed to not pursue any further claims or lawsuits. The deal does not involve Kelly's dad, Ron Thomas, though.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON THOMAS, FATHER OF KELLY THOMAS: Good for her, OK. She felt that's what she needed do and I support her. I'm not in the money game. Whatever monies I'm getting, will get, if I get, is going to go to the foundation anyway that I started for Kelly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Fullerton's deal with Kelly's mom comes a week after a judge ordered two Fullerton cops charged with Kelly's death to stand trial. The judge made the ruling after expert testimony and watching this video of Thomas being beaten and tazed by the officers.
Four other officers were put on paid administrative leave, but were not criminally charged. Ron Thomas is actually going to join me tomorrow. He's made it his life's mission now to change the way that we treat and think about those who suffer from mental illness.
John Edwards' trial may be coming to an end, but there's still one remaining question. Will his mistress take the stand? Sources tell CNN that it's unlikely Rielle Hunter will be called to testify.
Edwards, as you know, is accused of using campaign money to hide Hunter and her pregnancy while he ran for president. Defense attorneys insist that Edwards may be guilty of bad behavior, but that donations to hide Rielle Hunter cannot be considered campaign donations.
The economic and political crisis in Greece sending shock waves across Europe now. A temporary prime minister - seen right here -- was named today to lead the government until new elections are held next month.
The big question, will Greece honor its austerity commitments to its foreign lenders or bail out of the European union's single currency, the euro? Worried Greeks are pulling hundreds of millions of euros out of the country's banks right now and the Greek president says that, while there is no panic, there is fear that could develop into panic.
Investors here in the U.S. are closely following the events, but right now they're reacting to encouraging economic reports back here at home. It's reflected on Wall Street now. Dow Industrials up 50 points.
A massive wildfire is burning out of control just north of Phoenix this hour. The Gladiator fire is centered in the Bradshaw Mountains and is threatening the historic mountain town of Crown King. Two firefighters have been injured and at least three buildings burned.
Air tankers and helicopters are helping firefighters by dropping retardant over wide parts of the burning trees at this point. It started as a house fire on Sunday and it quickly spread to the dry pines this the Prescott National Forest.
All right, picture this. Kodak, the iconic company that made photographers of us all, well, they kept weapons-grade uranium in an underground lab for more than 30 years. The newspaper in Kodak's hometown of Rochester, New York, reported this week and Kodak now confirms, it used about three and a half pounds of -- no, that's not correct. I will double-check how much of the pounds that they used.
But it's called U-235 and it was used for research. The stuff was enriched to more than 93 percent. And by way of comparison, Iran claims to have enriched its uranium to 20 percent. Kodak turned its nukes over to the U.S. government in 2007. It's now in bankruptcy.
PHILLIPS: Just a quick note for those 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 desktop. All you have to do is go to CNN.com/TV.
Aimee Copeland is still fighting hard to stop that flesh-eating bacteria from ravaging more parts of her body. Aimee's dad is blogging that doctors are warning Aimee's condition will be a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows over the next few days, weeks and months, but doctors are still trying to save Aimee's hands after they were forced to amputate her left leg.
The rollercoaster began more than two weeks ago when Aimee fell off a homemade zip-line and slashed open her calf, but now the community is joining the battle. You're looking at the overwhelming response. Hundreds of people flooding into two blood drives. Huge lines at the Shepherd Community Blood Center and the University of West Georgia's campus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARA DERMO, FRIEND OF AIMEE COPELAND: I only hope that if my daughter was in this situation that everybody else would jump to do this.
It's got love in it. It's not just blood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Aimee still could lose her fingers to the flesh-eating bacteria, but her dad says she's gradually trying to breathe on her own. She remains in critical condition at Augusta Hospital.
The name and the claim almost seem too good to be true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM KARDASHIAN, CELEBRITY SPOKESPERSON: That's not completely true. I am working out. It's not someone else. It's something else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: We're talking about Sketchers Shape-Ups. You've probably seen the sexy ads featuring all the celebs. Wear them, lose weight, tone your muscles. Well, not exactly.
We're just getting the details that the Federal Trade Commission has now fined Sketchers a whopping $40 million, saying that the ads were deceptive and the fitness claims bogus.
Let's get straight to our Sandra Endo who's in the D.C.-area with more details. Sandra, I was looking at these commercials. I've had them and I was always wondering, OK, are these working or is it just the fact that I am walking more?
SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you feel toner and did you feel like you were burning those calories, Kyra?
PHILLIPS: Well, I felt a little sore, I will say that, but who knows. Maybe it's just because I was walking more.
ENDO: Exactly. And you know what? You should listen up to this because you could get your money back. The Federal Trade Commission actually investigated these claims that you can burn calories and tone-up, but they found that the shoemaker's advertisements were false and misleading, which is a violation of federal law.
And that is why they are actually making sure that Sketchers forks over $40 million in this settlement, which is a whopping, hefty fee. And this is the conclusion of a months-long investigation spanning 44 states and the District of Columbia.
So certainly some good news for people out there who maybe like you, Kyra, who felt a little sore, but maybe didn't see those results.
PHILLIPS: Well, it's interesting. So there was absolutely no proof that they did anything. It's like you said, I'm assuming you bought a pair, too. You definitely felt that something was working just because the way the sole was and how you moved differently when you walked.
So, I mean, what's next? You're saying that folks can get their money back. What are the other outcomes from this?
ENDO: Well, yes, this is good news because, according to this new settlement, the FTC says customers can get their money back directly through the FTC or through a class-action lawsuit.
Now, keep in mind as you mentioned so many people bought those shoes because you saw those ads with Kim Kardashian and also Brooke Burke. Some even aired during the Super Bowl last year. They're so tempting because it seemed like a quick fix instead of going to the gym.
And these shoes cost $60 to $100 each pair, so a lot of people who didn't see results can get their money pack by filing claims with the FTC or a class-action lawsuit, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Now, Sketchers has a lot of other products. Is there any concern with anything else or is it just strictly to the Shape- Ups?
ENDO: Yes, this didn't only include the Shape-Ups. It also included these Resistant Runner shoes, Toners and Tone-Up shoes, so if you have any one of those shoes you can make those claims and try to get your money back.
PHILLIPS: All right, Sandy, thanks so much.
Well, under the FTC settlement, the company is barred from any advertising making similar claims unless it's backed up by scientific evidence. What Sketchers plans to do with the Shape-Ups brand, that remains to be seen.
PHILLIPS: IPO mania. Two days now before Facebook goes public. Some investors are hedging their bets. Others see a massive gold rush.
Dan Simon goes in-depth for a look at the high expectations.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Real estate agents, car dealerships and high-end retailers are hoping for a ripple from the Facebook IPO, but nothing is for certain. That is unless you're the guy sitting in this chair.
So over the next five years, the state can expect to get $2.5 billion to $3 billion in tax revenue?
BILL LOCKYER, CALIFORNIA STATE TREASURER: Correct.
SIMON: That's the California state treasurer, Bill Lockyer, whose office is expecting a windfall of money from Facebook millionaires, money that could end up in industries like construction.
He notes that for every $1 billion allocated, the state could produce --
LOCKYER: Twenty-thousand jobs. And these are good jobs in the middle class, solid jobs.
GREG GRETSCH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SIGMA: Clearly the Facebook IPO is unprecedented and, whenever people try to draw comparisons to their IPO, they're at a loss because there are no comparisons.
SIMON: It's produced a little bit of IPO mania. Websites like "Who Owns Facebook" show individual shareholders expected net worth.
DAVID SACKS, CEO, YAMMER : There's nothing like a big conspicuous success to drive the next generation of investment in start-ups and that's very good for the valley.
SIMON: Technology executives like David Sacks see the wealth as a broader phenomenon, one that could spawn the next Facebook or technology company.
SACKS: In order for investors to want to keep pouring money into start-ups there has to be a return. So there has to be a lottery winner in order for us to keep wanting to fund the next generation of risky start-ups.
SIMON: Of course, the biggest lottery winner is Mark Zuckerberg himself. How he plans to use his wealth is unknown, except that he's already signed on to "The Giving Pledge," the Bill Gates/Warren Buffett initiative that encourages billionaires like Zuckerberg to give most of their money to philanthropic causes.
DAVID KIRKPATRICK, AUTHOR, "THE FACEBOOK EFFECT": His goal is not to get rich with this, his goal is to change the world. That's always been the way he thinks and continues to be the way he thinks.
SIMON: The thinking here in Silicon Valley is the Facebook IPO is a once-in-a-lifetime event, destined to change many lives and motivate scores of entrepreneurs to launch innovative start-ups.
Dan Simon, CNN, Menlo Park, California. (END VIDEOTAPE)
PHILLIPS: And as we mentioned, the Facebook IPO is set for Friday. Stay with CNN for extensive coverage of this highly anticipated event.
And just as Facebook is about to go public, G.M. is pulling the plug on advertising on the social network site. "The Wall Street Journal" says that G.M. had been spending $10 million on the ads, but they weren't delivering the buyers.
So G.M. ads were only a tiny part of Facebook's nearly $4 billion in ad revenue last year. Analysts says G.M.'s move indicates, at least for the automaker, its Facebook ads were disappointing.
PHILLIPS: Well, if you're a fan of '80s soul/funk, I bet you'll remember Charlie Wilson, lead singer of The Gap Band. Over the years he's battled drugs, alcohol, even prostate cancer.
But his struggle with the disease has inspired him to educate others. His story is our "Human Factor." Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Charlie Wilson is best known as "Uncle Charlie," as a member of the '80s funk group, The Gap Band, and now a solo artist.
But celebrity status has also had its ups and downs.
CHARLIE WILSON: The ride got wild, of course, with success. Of course, alcohol and drugs. And it just got unbearable.
GUPTA: At one point, Wilson lost everything.
WILSON: I became homeless. I didn't have anywhere to go.
GUPTA: He did eventually get sober, went back into the studio as a solo artist and made eight more hit singles.
But then in 2008, life dropped another bomb on Uncle Charlie. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
WILSON: My life was devastated and I thought my career was over because the word "cancer" just scared me to death.
GUPTA: With surgery and radiation, he was able to overcome the disease and he quickly realized that talking about prostate cancer was his new life's work.
WILSON: I wanted to educate people about this disease. I didn't know what I was going to say, I just knew that what I had went through was very scary and I wanted to share it with someone. GUPTA: So he's partnered with the pharmaceutical company, Janssen Biotech, and, as a paid spokesman, is helping educate black men about the disease.
WILSON: We're two times more likely to die from this disease than any other ethnic group and that scares me.
GUPTA: For Uncle Charlie, the future continues to look bright.
WILSON: I'm 18 years clean and sober and I thank God for my life and I thank God for my wife. So here I am, ready to take on the world again.
GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
PHILLIPS: "Sanjay Gupta, MD," airs every Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Eastern.
A new little gadget is becoming the new eyes and ears of troops on the battlefield. Take a look at this tiny dumbbell-shaped robot. All soldiers have to do is just throw it into a danger area and the built-in camera will show them exactly who or what is lurking before they even enter into a potentially deadly situation.
Now to Charleston, South Carolina. Some lucky little kids were picked to throw the first pitch at the RiverDogs game, but that was nothing compared to that excitement you're seeing right there when they realized that it was their dad that was disguised as the catcher.
Dad had been deployed in Afghanistan for 18 months. He says the next stop for the family, Disney World.
PHILLIPS: The wife of former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine is taking on ESPN. She says that the network has destroyed her reputation.
Laurie Fine is suing ESPN and two of its reporters for libel. She's currently making that announcement at a press conference right now. We've been monitoring it for you.
As you know, her husband was fired from Syracuse last November after several ball boys accused Bernie Fine of molesting him. Bernie Fine has not been charged with a crime and maintains his innocence.
His wife, Laurie, became a part of that scandal after ESPN aired a recorded phone call with one of her husband's accusers that suggested that she knew about the alleged sexual abuse and here's what Laurie Fine said today about ESPN's report and what she claims are defamatory accusations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAURIE FINE, WIFE OF BERNIE FINE: It is impossible for me to describe here today what ESPN has taken away from me. They should apologize and retract these horrible lies reported about me. Only after these defendants have taken responsibility for their reprehensible actions, they should be held accountable and then justice will be served.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: In response, ESPN issued this statement saying, quote, "We haven't had an opportunity to review the complaint. We stand by our reporting."
The Violence Against Women Act is supposed to protect women from abuse and violence. Unfortunately, the legislation has fallen victim to partisan politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER, (D), NEW YORK: House Republicans will continue their war on women.
REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D), CALIFORNIA: There is a war on women and this is a great indication of it.
UNIDENTIFIED REPRESENTATIVE: This attack on women is going to be noted across the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Enter Sandy Adams, the Republican from Florida, who's trying to get the act passed in the House. The issue is close to her heart. She was a victim of domestic abuse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is this a war on women?
REP. SANDY ADAMS, (R), FLORIDA: No.
BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, why are Democrats calling this a war on women then?
ADAMS: Politics. I guess it makes for good talking points, but it's not accurate. We are here trying to reauthorize a bill that would help all victims of domestic violence, and especially women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Our Kate Bolduan, as you see, got to sit down with Sandy Adams. She's joining me now live from Washington.
Kate, this is where politics becomes so frustrating for so many people, this issue in particular, especially for women who have been impacted. BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. And really politics are very much at the center of all of this.
But where the controversy is at the moment and has been throughout is differences between the Senate version of this -- of renewing this law and the House version. The Senate version that passed, with bipartisan support last month, Kyra, it expanded current law. And a couple of those measures is what House Republicans oppose and are not including in their version of the bill. A couple of those -- among those measures are an expansion of the law to offer serves to more victims who are illegal immigrants. Also the Senate version specifies that the law cover -- include victims who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.
House Republicans, as I say, oppose those measures and are not including them in their bill. Why, do you ask? Well, Republicans say, especially the language dealing with covering gay and lesbian victims, it's unnecessary. House Republicans say, and including Sandy Adams -- and I spoke with her again about it today -- she says it is unnecessary because the law as is written is already written to be all-inclusive and include all victims. They accuse Democrats by doing this of picking a phony fight for political reasons. But Democrats are very firm, Kyra, and argue that the bill needs to be more comprehensive, because, as the law is written, it can allow for ambiguity that may lead to discrimination of these certain groups.
So there is that at play. There is a policy, differences at play, but by and large the big fight here is over politics. Why? A key constituency cares about this measure and this law very much -- female voters -- Kyra?
PHILLIPS: We're going to follow it closely with you throughout the day.
Kate Bolduan, thanks so much.
The vote is expected to happen this evening. We'll keep you updated every minute of the way.
New developments in that alleged sex abuse case against John Travolta. John Doe One has withdrawn his case but he's switched lawyers. Gloria Allred is his new rep. And she says, since the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, he is still legally entitled to file another one against the actor if he chooses. Two massage therapists have now alleged that Travolta groped them during sessions.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor returns to her native New York at this hour to address graduates at NYU. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice and only the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court. She's going to pick up an honorary doctorate at this event as well. And it's a homecoming for Sotomayor who once served as an adjunct professor at NYU's law school.
Pretty shocking story about the brutal beating of a soldier in Florida. According to our affiliate, WTSP (ph), the attack in Tampa was caught on a surveillance camera. And we warn you, the images are definitely disturbing.
This is a 24-year-old soldier who was walking alone at night when approached by three people who just started attacking him, knocked him to the ground, repeatedly hitting him and kicking him. At one point, another person just ran down the street and joined in on the attack. Before casually walking away, one of the attackers took the soldier's cell phone and wallet. That soldier managed to get to his feet and to a neighbor's house for help. He's still being treated at a local hospital. A law firm is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.
Baseball's big mid-season event coming to the Big Apple. Live pictures right now. Commissioner Bud Selig announcing, this hour, that the Mets will host baseball's 2013 all-star game at Citi Field there. The league lights to field its event at big stadiums and the Mets were expected to get it after they opened three seasons ago. The city just hosted the all-star game back in 2008, the last year the old Yankees Stadium was open.
PHILLIPS: Well, if you're leaving the house right now, just a reminder, you can continue watching CNN from your mobile phone. You can also watch CNN live from your desktop. All you've got to do is go to CNN.com/tv.
The face, the voice, the dapper suits and unmistakable swagger -- Charlie Rangel has been a larger-than-life member of Congress and a champion of Harlem for more than 40 years. Well, this year, he's facing a new field of opponents in a newly redrawn district and trying to put some old issues behind him.
Congressman Rangel joining me to talk about the race, his career and the profession that he loves.
Good to see you, sir.
REP. CHARLIE RANGEL, (D), NEW YORK: Thank you for the opportunity.
PHILLIPS: Well, let me tell you, Congressman, I've talked to you many times, through the ups, through the downs. You're now a vivacious 80-plus years old. You've been out of commission for a little while with some back problems. You've also survived an ethics scandal that a lot of people thought you wouldn't. So let me ask you directly, why do you want a 22nd term?
RANGEL: Well, I'm still trying to get an answer that makes some kind of sense because I cannot see how I can resist that at this time in my life, the opportunity to be involved in changing things in America at this most crucial time.
I know every two years congressmen say that your life depended on it. But when you see the polarization that's taking place in this country, when you see actually the poor being the target of severe cuts because of the deficit and you see the sacred mold that's being put around the wealthy and you see that, so far, my dreams and expectations of having a president like Obama has been achieved and that's being threatened, and I have the opportunity to continue my work in terms of the affordable health bill, concentrating on education, providing health care for everybody, making certain that we have a military but not at the expense of the poor. It is such a great opportunity.
Now, make no mistake about it. If I thought for one minute that there was somebody out there that had really wanted to talk with me about running, I would have to listen, if just because of my age alone. But when people cannot find any reason at all except that I've served for so long, I don't see any reason why I should not and will accept this great challenge.
Now, I have to admit, you talked about all of the problems. It's not a complete surprise to me. And what you so easily call a scandal, take my word for it, and put down the date, that before June the 26th, you will see a major newspaper that had a reporter that had the courage enough to read the record of the scandals, and right there, the chief so-called prosecutor says that based on the record, Rangel has been guilty of no crime but only sloppy bookkeeping and a concern -- an overzealous reaction to trying to raise money for minority kids.
RANGEL: But put that behind us. Draper said two weeks ago that me and the secretary treasurer was on a hit list. And I got a big multi-national PAC from Texas. So my so-called scandals are understandable.
PHILLIPS: Congressman, let me ask you a couple thoughts. You mentioned the president of the United States, President Obama. Let me read to you a quote that he gave two years ago when you were seeking your 21st term, if you don't mind. He said, talking about you, "He's somebody who's at the end of his career, 80 years old. I am sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity. And my hope is that it happens."
Those are pretty strong words. Do you think you need the president's support this time around, Congressman?
RANGEL: Of course not. I would welcome it. But what did he really say? That I reached the end of my career. I've been here for 41 years, now going on 42. That he wished I leave with dignity. I have no question that I will and his wishes will be fulfilled. What did he say that was so derogatory if you take the words? Now, true, he didn't hug and kiss me like I wish he would --
RANGEL: -- but I don't have any problem.
PHILLIPS: Let me ask you this. He says he hopes you end your career with dignity. RANGEL: And I will. I will.
PHILLIPS: Let me throw one more thing out, OK. Let me throw one thing out. Senator John McCain -- and I don't know if you read his book, "Worth Fighting For" -- but he mentioned in his book, one of the biggest mistakes that members of Congress don't hang it up when they should. They stay in there too long. And then I was looking at one of the quotes from one of your main challengers, and he said, "Congressman Rangel has been here since 1970. Richard Nixon was president. We landed on the moon. And Joe Namath was wearing panty hose and throwing touchdown passes."
Let me ask you, Congressman, do you think there's any danger to outliving your renown?
RANGEL: No. You might say, in 1960, Charlie Rangel was fighting the war in Korea against Communists, saving and rescuing American troops, coming back home with the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, walking up and down parades in California. But that shouldn't count either. But if you want to go back into the past where a kid dropped out of high school and tried to be a symbol for kids all over the country, hey, that should count for something. But just being old, come on, give me a break.
PHILLIPS: As my grandfather said, old is just a number and you are one individual that is definitely made every minute count.
Redistricting, it's a threat to long-time office holders like you. And your district is now more Hispanic than it is African- American. How do your challengers, one of whom is a Dominican- American, stack up against opponents that you faced in the past, Congressman?
RANGEL: Well, everyone calls in love with their district. They hope their constituents fall in love with them. To a large degree, that's all they know, and they are so happy with it, and for me for 20 terms. I had a concern and one of the reasons I ran for re-election, because incumbents have had the power to influence their districts to make certain that harmonious communities that live with each other, that were able to put aside culture and language difficulties. Now we are on the breach, of course, of people doing a cultural thing as opposed to an experience thing and it's going to work out all right because, no matter where Dominicans are, Puerto Ricans are, African- Americans -- and if you take a look at the diversity of my voting congressional district, there won't be a problem there in terms of getting re-elected.
As I said, and over spoke, there are people in Texas, powerful political Republican groups, there are people here in Washington that have come up with my name as a target. And it's not just a guy running for re-election on the primary ticket. It's a guy they have been after for years. Those things happen. I can't get away from it. But it's always exciting. Remember this, I was not drafted to run for Congress.
PHILLIPS: Congressman Charlie Rangel, indeed, we will follow the race.
Thanks for your time today.
RANGEL: Thank you, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: You bet.
In addition to all his other distinctions and honors, Mr. Rangel is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
PHILLIPS: And this just coming into CNN regarding the John Edwards trial. We are being told that the defense team has rested. There will be no more witnesses to be called. And closing arguments scheduled to begin tomorrow. And jury deliberations to begin on Friday. Once again, news in on the John Edwards trial, the defense team has rested. No more witnesses. Closing arguments scheduled to begin tomorrow. Jury deliberations to begin on Friday.
Americans want a president who can create jobs. They also want a president they can sit down with and have a beer or a ginger ale.
Democrat strategist, Tara Dowdell, and Crystal Wright, editor of conservativeblackchick.com, knows exactly what we mean here.
Ladies, Mitt Romney, when it comes to business, he says he's the good guy. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama is an old-school liberal whose first instinct is to see free enterprise as the villain and government as the hero.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Then you have David Brooks, of the "New York Times," this morning, saying Obama is the guy you want to hang with. He has the, quote, "ESPN masculinity." He's the leader who relates better with the peeps.
What does this country need more? Tara?
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I actually disagree with the premise of David Brooks' article. While certainly personality does play a role in electing a president, we've seen that happen, I don't think it plays a role in electing a president. I think what we see here is that President Obama, despite the fact that the economy is not recovering as quickly as we'd all like it to be, he's been a steady hand. And you contrast that with Mitt Romney, who has been indecisive and flip-flopped on almost every issue out there, and so I think people see that distinction. They also see that the main Republican argument against this president is that he didn't fix the broken mess left by a Republican president's policies fast enough. That's their argument. And, oh, by the way, we actually want to revisit those exact same policies. So intellectually, Americans see that that's the argument. They see what I say. We don't have a "rich people aren't rich enough problem," and yet Mitt Romney's answer to our economic issues is to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans as if that's our issue.
CRYSTAL WRIGHT, CONSERVATIVE BLOGGER: Tara is right. This election is not about the president's personality or Mitt Romney's personality. This election is about a broken America. Our economic problems, which are unemployment that's been above 8 percent since Obama came into office and a $16 trillion debt, this is why the latest Rasmussen poll has Mitt Romney 50 percent ahead of Obama at 43 percent.
But let's go back to personality. The president continues to run on his personality because that is all he has. And besides the late night appearances, I'm going to say something that's going to upset people right now. The president, from day one, starting in 2008, ran on his race, and when he got elected, he ran on -- he keeps going back to I'm the first black president to gain sympathy points from the American people and boost his personality polls because --
WRIGHT: Wait a minute. I want to finish this thought.
He has -- Republicans have become the code word for the bad guys in Congress who won't rubber stamp the first black president's agenda. He has Democrats like Maxine Waters coming out publicly, many others in his surrogates, saying the reason why this president has a failed agenda is because he's black, and that is absolutely not right. And I hope Romney continues to call him on the mat on these economic issues and his utter failing.
PHILLIPS: Tara? Tara, I know you're going to want to weigh in on that, and then I want to get to the final question, guys.
DOWDELL: Well, I'm just surprised because Republicans like Crystal are always saying Democrats use the race card and she clearly used the race card, which I'm really surprised by.
I think the issue here is we want to talk about the economy, that the bulk of the private-sector jobs that were lost as a result of the policies under President Bush, who is a Republican, the bulk of those jobs have come back. Where we've seen the job loss is on the government side. Hundreds of thousands of government jobs have been lost, which is what I thought the Republicans liked. And also --
WRIGHT: Eight million jobs have not come back, Tara.
WRIGHT: Eight million.
DOWDELL: I said the private-sector jobs that were lost --
WRIGHT: Eight million jobs have not come back.
DOWDELL: The recession. And with the obstructionism, American people see that the Republicans are obstructing the president. They're blocking things they previously said that they agree with, like infrastructure spending, which the Chamber of Commerce called a no-brainer. They wanted to block the payroll tax cut. Republicans have never met a tax cut that they didn't like. So --
WRIGHT: Come on.
DOWDELL: Let's be honest here.
WRIGHT: -- jobs bills and they're sitting collecting dust in the Democrat-led Senate.
DOWDELL: Cut more taxes for wealthy people, I'm familiar with those.
WRIGHT: I'm talking about the 30 jobs bills that Speaker Boehner --
WRIGHT: -- Republicans have passed.
DOWDELL: And they're focusing on cutting --
PHILLIPS: All right. So much for getting to my part two of the conversation. Obviously, I see what gets you two fired up and I will remember that.
PHILLIPS: Exactly. All right, ladies, we're going to have to leave it there.
Tara and Crystal, appreciate it.
That's "Fair Game."
PHILLIPS: When it comes to the cloak-and-dagger world of spies, it's often hard to tell the difference between fact and fiction. Hollywood has a long history of portraying spies who have come in from the cold and those that haven't. Take the TV show "Burn Notice." That a real CIA term -- or is it?
Suzanne Kelly went on a covert operation of her own to find out.
SUZANNE KELLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No doubt espionage sells. The world loves a good spy story, so we came here to Miami on the set of "Burn Notice" to separate out the fact from fiction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Action.
KELLY: Jeffrey Donovan plays Michael Westin.
(on camera): How much experience had you had no the whole spy world before the show?
JEFFREY DONOVAN, ACTOR: Zero.
DONOVAN: I didn't know much about the intelligence community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Creating a good diversion isn't just about making noise and firing guns. It's about giving the enemy the impression that he's being attacked in a way that demands the immediate attention of all of his forces, ideally, something big and very, very loud.
DONOVAN: "Burn Notice" is a term the CIA uses to basically kick a spy out of their agency and never have to pay them pension.
KELLY: That's the H.R. nightmare.
DONOVAN: Yes. And they burn them. They burn records of who they are, what they've done. And when you have no identity and you're a burned spy, it's kind of hard to get a job.
RENNY HARLIN, DIRECTOR: Action cars. Get out of the sun. Move around. Clear the shot for them.
KELLY: Renny Harlin is directing this episode.
HARLIN: We are having a little fun. You have to be pretty organized because when you think of movies like "Diehard 2" and "Cliff Hanger" that I have shot, we have maybe 80 days to shoot the movie. Here, we are doing one episode of TV in seven days.
KELLY (on camera): Our mission is to separate fact from fiction. To do that, we're going to go to Marty Martin.
You're real name?
MARTY MARTIN, FORMER COVERT CIA AGENT: Marty Martin. That's me.
KELLY: Covert officer overseas for the CIA for a number of years.
MARTIN: That's what they say.
KELLY: Are there retakes in real life?
MARTIN: No, absolutely not.
KELLY: Are shows like this real? Can a spy at the CIA ever be burned?
MARTIN: No. If you goof up, you get fired.
KELLY: You get fired.
MARTIN: Now, a burn notice is issued because, all around, the people are trying to I.D. our officers. They're trying to make money. They're trying to lie or they're trying to disinform us. So what happens, eventually, you're like, OK, this guy is done, he's a liar.
KELLY: Right. We caught you. We're onto you.
MARTIN: We're on to you. And you issue a burn notice to your systems saying, if that yahoo shows up --
KELLY: Don't talk to him.
MARTIN: -- don't talk to him, don't waste your time, and don't pay him money.
KELLY: Hollywood may not mirror reality 100 percent, but it makes for good TV.
In Miami, I'm Suzanne Kelly for CNN.
PHILLIPS: If you're new to "Burn Notice," you may not know that the show actually first premiered in 2007.
Thanks for watching. You can continue the conversation with me on Twitter, @kyraCNN, or on Facebook.
CNN NEWSROOM continues now with our Suzanne Malveaux.