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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Jose Antonio Vargas Released from Detention; Alix Tichelman Accused of Watching a Google Executive Die; Rockets Fired, Truce Off; "Documented" Filmmaker Just Released By Border Patrol; Americans Plotting Terror Attacks Against The U.S.?; Is Eric Holder Race Baiting?; The Cable Guy Versus The Customer; The World's Fastest Hot Tub
Aired July 15, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, breaking news, the Middle East ceasefire, dead. Should the United States do more? The State Department's spokesperson is OUTFRONT.
Plus, a growing terror threat. Dozens of American citizens could be planning attacks against America.
And the alleged killer call girl about to face a judge in connection with the death of a Google executive. Tonight, the growing popularity of the website that brought them together. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, the ceasefire shattered. Hopes for quiet and calm dashed as the rocket barrage between Israel and Gaza resumes. Israel stopped its attacks for all of six hours, but Hamas never accepted the terms of the ceasefire and never stopped firing. Israel says it's been hit by 141 rockets since 9:00 a.m. this morning.
That's the equivalent of one every 6 minutes. Israel has now confirmed its first fatality in the conflict, but in Gaza, the death toll much higher. More than 200 have been killed, and many civilians among them. Israel says it's warning residents of Northern Gaza to leave their homes now for their own safety ahead of more strikes.
We have reports from both sides. Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem. Ben Wedeman in Gaza City. And I want to begin with you, Wolf. Wolf, obviously, the Israelis adhering to the ceasefire, for, as we said, all of six hours. And Hamas, though never stopping firing. Is there any hope the ceasefire could hold at this point?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": There's hope, but it's not looking good in the short-term. The short-term, it looks like there will be more military action on the part of the Israelis. The Israel cabinet in emergency session, just wrapped up a meeting in Tel Aviv. Now the prime minister is back here in Jerusalem.
And they seem to be gearing up for some limited ground operations, going after certain tunnels, underground bunkers in Northern Gaza. They've distributed leaflets and told Palestinians in northern Gaza and elsewhere in Gaza, as well, get ready and move out of these areas. I do anticipate, there will be some heightened Israeli military activity in the coming few days.
Although, behind the scenes, there are still efforts underway to try to convince Hamas to go ahead and accept a ceasefire. I know that the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Qataris, the Turks, the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas, and the United States are all working behind the scenes to convince Hamas to go along with a deal. They rejected it earlier today. We'll see what happens in the next few days.
BURNETT: All right, Wolf Blitzer, thank you. Wolf is live in Jerusalem tonight. I want to go to Ben Wedeman now in Gaza City. Ben, you just heard Wolf, you know, talking about the Israeli hopes for the ceasefire. Obviously, Hamas used the words yesterday that it was a joke. They never stopped firing their missiles.
But now, you hear the Israelis saying, look, clear out of these parts of Gaza to civilians because there are going to be strikes. Are people doing that?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, some people are. We understand that, for instance, in one neighborhood, to the northeast of here, people got those phone calls, recorded calls in Arabic, where the caller identifies himself as speaking on behalf of the Israeli defense forces, telling people they should get out.
And we understand they've already started to move towards Gaza City, where that message told them they should go. Keep in mind, there are already 17,000 people who have left the northern part of Gaza, staying in U.N. schools, which are already very crowded. But, obviously, this is not a good sign about what could be happening in the hours or days ahead -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Ben, thank you very much. And an image that, I think, to bring home to many in the United States. You get those reverse phone calls when there's emergencies. Can you imagine getting that phone call, a reverse phone call of missiles that are about to hit your home if you didn't leave.
Joining me now is the State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki. Good to have you with us, Jen. Secretary Kerry, is he going to be going on the scene to help negotiate a ceasefire?
JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Well, Erin, Secretary Kerry has been engaged with the parties. That includes the Egyptians, the Qataris, a range of countries in the region, as well as the Israelis on the ground, over the course of the last couple of days. He's prepared to repack his suitcase, get some new shirts, and go back tomorrow if he can play a role in the diplomatic process here.
We haven't made the decision to do that yet. He's going to be consulting with the president, with other officials in Washington, and we'll see what's needed and what's appropriate, as the week commences.
BURNETT: All right, but, obviously, that he would be ready to go at any second. The thing is, though, he spent nine months trying to work out a peace agreement between the Israel and Palestinians, which ended in a stalemate. And I want to play what you said back in April when those talks broke down. Here you are back then.
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PSAKI: The secretary agrees that the Israelis and the Palestinians have both taken unhelpful steps throughout this process. It's up to them to determine if there's a path forward.
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BURNETT: What you've said, obviously, they done a lot more unhelpful things since then, I mean, given the situation we're in now. Why would U.S. involvement now then be any more productive?
PSAKI: First, let me say, what we're seeing on the ground now, the danger on the ground, the violence on the ground, it's a reminder why a peace process and why a two-state solution is necessary. And why the status quo is, in fact, not sustainable at all. The United States maintains a strong relationship with Israel, maintains a strong relationship with a range of countries in the region.
We have a stake in the stability in the region and just because the peace process didn't quite work out this time, it doesn't mean that we don't have strong relationships and a role to play here, to return to peace in the region.
BURNETT: And are you optimistic that it would work? The former vice president, Dick Cheney, was on with Jake Tapper today here on CNN, and Jake asked him whether he thinks a peace agreement is possible. And I don't want to quote him, I want you to hear what he said, because it was pretty direct. Here it is.
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FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: I don't think you can negotiate a settlement with Hamas. I think they're absolutely sworn to fight to the death for the destruction of Israel.
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BURNETT: Is that true?
PSAKI: Well, the United States doesn't talk to Hamas, but other countries in the region do and there are a range of countries, in the Arab world, in the Arab community, who are making a strong case, putting pressure on Hamas. We remain engaged with them. You saw the proposal the Egyptians put out there. That remains on the table and so we're hopeful we can return to a discussion about a ceasefire.
BURNETT: Now, the spokesperson for Hamas said last night, the ceasefire was a joke, and indeed, Hamas never observed it. How do you negotiate with people who talk that way? They didn't even take a second to stop firing missiles last night?
PSAKI: Well, we're hopeful that the political wing of Hamas can have some influence on the military wing. We know that there's influence that many countries in the region can have here. The Egyptians, obviously, have put forward a proposal that is a good faith proposal, that we think can be a basis for a discussion. I think it's a reminder, everybody needs to remember here, including Hamas, they're putting the very people at risk in Gaza that they say they want to keep safe. And that's ultimately what's at stake here, is the lives of civilians.
BURNETT: And right, of course, Israel said, look, when they want to strike a militant, they accused Hamas of using human shields, putting women and children around those militants and forcing them to kill civilians. But I want to ask you about this. You have said again and again, Israel has a right to defend itself.
But 70 percent of the people that they have killed in Gaza, that the Palestinians have killed, have been civilians. Sure, Israelis warned them, leave your homes, because we're going to bomb. But how can you call that inequity in terms of who is dying defending themselves?
PSAKI: Well, I think it's important to remember that when we say defending, we're talking about the indiscriminate attacks and rocket launches that continued from Hamas into Israel, even after the ceasefire was proposed today. And you referenced this, Israel held back for several hours, but they do have a right to defend their own people.
They have certain defense systems and abilities to protect their own country. But, look, the reason we think that a ceasefire and a discussion of that is so important is because we do not want to see a single life lost, another life lost in Gaza or anywhere in the region. And that's why this discussion is so urgent.
BURNETT: Jen, thank you very much. Always good to speak with you.
PSAKI: Great to see you.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, America's most famous undocumented immigrant, detained at the border. Why was he asking for it?
And Attorney General Eric Holder, under fire, guilty of race baiting. Take our poll at cnn.com/outfront.
And the dating web site that brought together a Google executive and his alleged killer. The young woman who used it to hook up with rich, older men speak OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Breaking news, America's most famous undocumented immigrant, journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, has just been released by border patrol agents. Vargas was a guest on this show last night. He was arrested this morning after attempting to board a plane along the border. The Department of Homeland Security released a statement saying they encountered Vargas at the airport and quote, "apprehended him after he stated that he was in the country illegally."
Mr. Vargas was transported to the McAllen Border Patrol Station, where he was processed and provided with a notice to appear before an immigration judge. Now, Vargas clearly wanted to be apprehended. He was at the border meeting with some of the tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants inside the country, but he has been in the U.S. for over 20 years. A lot of people say, did this goal of getting detained, was it worth it? Alina Machado is OUTFRONT.
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's described himself as the most privileged undocumented immigrant in the country. Visiting more than 40 states in the past three years without any problem until now. This is Jose Antonio Vargas, at an airport in McAllen, Texas, this morning.
Moments later, this picture published by "The Huffington Post," shows Vargas detained by border patrol. He's been on the border since last week, to see the crisis first hand and to visit a shelter helping many of the recent arrivals. But shortly after arriving in McAllen on Thursday, Vargas told CNN he was concerned about the significant border patrol presence in the area.
He also expressed that concern on Twitter, and in an essay published Friday in "Politico" magazine. Writing, quote, "getting out of a border town in Texas, by plane or by land, won't be easy. It might, in fact, be impossible." Then last night, he said this on OUTFRONT."
BURNETT: What about your situation in particular? I mean, are you daring in a sense, Jose Antonio, to arrest you and to deport you?
JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, "DOCUMENTED" FILMMAKER RELEASED BY BORDER PATROL: When I outed myself three years ago, my goal is to say, I'm one of the 11 million people. I'm not asking for special treatment. I'm not asking for them to be any double standard. The government is doing that. My fate is tied to everybody else in this exact same situation.
MACHADO: In this CNN film "Documented," he shares his own personal journey as an undocumented immigrant who came to the U.S. as a child from the Philippines. Vargars has been providing constant updates of his whereabouts on social media. One of his last tweets, written moments before being detained reads, "about to go through security at McAllen Airport, I don't know what's going to happen."
But some are questioning that. A columnist with the "National Review" wrote in part, he pushed it too far, trying to pass through a checkpoint without the necessary papers. Then and only then did authorities take action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACHADO: The department of homeland security says Vargas was detained after he told border patrol agents he was in the country illegally. He was processed and given a notice to appear before an immigration judge.
Meanwhile, Vargas sent out a statement shortly after his release, thanking his supporters. He has not yet said what his next move will be -- Erin. ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Alina, thank you very much.
I mean, pretty -- this is an interesting story. And it fired a lot of people up. The cofounder and CEO of John Paul Mitchell system and the patrol spirits company John Paul Dejoria is me now. He's the son of immigrants and now one of the wealthiest people in the country.
And obviously, you have links to Texas here. So let me -- you just heard Alina Machado's reporting. You know, this is happening in Texas. What's your reaction to what he did?
JOHN PAUL DEJORIA, CO-FOUNDER/CHAIRMAN, JOHN PAUL MITCHELL SYSTEMS: Well, the story is simple. My parents were immigrants, one came from Greece, one came from Italy. They went through the process of Ellis Islands and are legal immigrants. They came in that way.
All of a sudden, when somebody comes up and says, I am a very famous person, I'm going to tell you I'm an illegal immigrant, they're making a big deal because of their position. Under the law, no person is different from another human being. We're a country of the people, for the people, all the people. We're supposed to be treated equally. So I think it's very embarrassing for him and his statement to say something like that. Because I'm special, I won these great awards, I'm letting you know, yes, try and deport me. Very, very silly and very stupid.
I think it kicks back what he's trying to do many, many years. He should do a little kinder, a little nicer, and not go to the forefront saying, I'm better to somebody else, but I'm going to say it, try to kick me out. It's wrong.
BURNETT: So let me -- here's what he said last night because I asked him about this issue of the children because he was down there. They're trying to do good for these children, raise awareness for their cause, feed them in their detention centers. And I asked him what the, what Congress should do about these kids. And I wanted to play for you what he said. Here he is.
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JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, DIRECTOR, DOCUMENTED: I dare any congressional member, the president, to look in the eyes of these children and tell them that they're going to be sent back. I dare them to look in the eyes of these children. Because once you see them, how can you send them back? America is not a country that turns its back on children. That's not who we are as a country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And that's an argument some are making, keep them all. But is that possible?
DEJORIA: No. And here's what they're not looking at. Let alone of the $4 billion they want to appropriate through Congress. It's not $4 billion, it's $500 billion. These children, we all love our kids. When you open the door, you're looking at 350 million kids. That's double the population of the United States. Who wouldn't want their kid to come here if they knew they had a better life and all of a sudden everything's taken care of.
BURNETT: So you're making the point, if you allow all of them to come in, you're just going to have so many more.
DEJORIA: My God. And we love the children. But what can do is if you send the children back, and at the other end, we have a big facility for them, and we feed those children there, let them go back with their mom, and let the government at the same time realize this. You want to send in 60,000 children from Honduras, fine. We're going to deduct exactly what it costs us off the foreign aid we give you every single year. That or the problem is, they're a country --
BURNETT: Or you stops. So we'll give you that aid to help the children, or you can have the aid for what you want.
DEJORIA: Exactly, exactly. And also, I think it's very embarrassing, of all these children here, what's going to happen to them? They'll get into gangs. Some of them get into prostitution. There have a bunch of children running around without parents, thousands of them. You can adopt it. My question to that young man, and with all due respect, he won great awards. He won a worldwide award. Would you like to take a hundred of those kids on yourself and take care of them, sir?
BURNETT: Right. It's a very key question.
Now, what about the money, the $3.7 billion? By the way, you have to say, this President has been tough on immigration. I keep saying this. He has sent deportation record after record. He wants another $3.7 billion. Should he get it?
DEJORIA: Well, it's not $3.7. He's fooling everybody. It's $500 billion.
BURNETT: Well, you're saying if all of the children in the world came.
DEJORIA: No, if you double and triple it. Once that OK is given, and we want to help children out. And it means that any kid that comes aboard all of a sudden gives the OK for more to come aboard. We want to take care of them but we need a long term solution. It is not three -- the next thing you're going to know, $10 billion for this, $20 billion, $50 billion.
BURNETT: To keep sending them home which is what he's trying to do. He is trying to send them home.
DEJORIA: But if you let the other country know, we'll send them home, but we are going to deduct to what we give you for international, you know, contributions here, that money that it cost us. Maybe that country will do something about taking care of their owned people. Giving their people a better like where they are going to want to stay there, help educate their people. They are going to want to stay there.
It is the root of it all happens in that country. The answer is in that country, not in our nation that loves people. We have big hearts. But when you have too big a heart, sometimes people take advantage of you.
BURNETT: All right. John Paul, thank you very much. John Paul Dejoria.
And next, the alleged killer call girl linked to a Google executive's death. Tonight, an OUTFRONT investigation into the growing popularity of the Web site that brought them together.
And a major new terror threat tonight, American citizens traveling overseas to learn how to harm America and then coming home. Why can't American officials track where they are?
BURNETT: The high-priced prostitute accused to have watching a Google executive die after injecting him with a lethal dose of heroin is due back in court tomorrow to face felony manslaughter charges. According to police, Alix Tichelman met Forrest Hayes through a Web site called seekarrangement.com. What kind of arrangement, you ask? Well, they help quote/unquote "sugar babies," that what they call them, hook up with rich older men.
Our Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT with an investigation on seeking arrangement's popularity.
BELLO, SUGAR BABY: Just describing a little bit about myself.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She's 28, loves cooking, sunsets, a typical online dating profile, until this section.
BELLA: Basically, the allowance you're seeking. I have moderate, which is $3,000 to $5,000.
LAH: Dollars, a month. And you heard right, an allowance, to date her. Bella, that's not her real name, is paid by suitors who list their sizable income and net worth. So-called sugar daddies, meaning, sugar babies on the Web site, seekingarrangement.com.
BELLA: I'm able to live the lifestyle I want without slaving for it. I'm being taken care of by someone I truly care for and they're caring for me.
LAH: This is the same Web site that police say Alix Tichelman used to meet Google executive, Forrest Hayes. Tichelman is accused in his murder and dubbed a high-end Silicon Valley call girl. Police say she used the Web site to meet her clients. The company says Tichelman was one of its users, but her profile raised no red flags.
ANGELA JACOB BERMUDO, SEEKINGARRANGEMENT.COM: Seeking arrangement is in no way or form a prostitution or escorting service. We are a dating Web site.
LAH: That's the intent of the Web site, insists the company. It was started in 2006, by a self-described never-been-kissed MIT nerd, Brandon Wade. The former software engineer explained the concept to OUTFRONT three years ago.
BRANDON WADE, FONDER, SEEKINGARRANGEMENT.COM: A sugar baby is defined as a younger woman who usually wants to meet a wealthy man to take care of them, in this case, their sugar daddies.
LAH: Since then, Wade has built a multimillion dollar pay-to-play empire with more than three million members. Nearly half the women, says the company, are college students, paying for the cost of their education.
MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR: They are not a dating Web site.
LAH: Critics believe the Web site operates in a gray zone. Exchange of money between visitors is not clearly visible and the profiles don't necessarily solicit for sex.
ROBBINS: I don't think that it makes it legal in California or any other state where prostitution is illegal. I think it just makes it sticky to prosecute.
BELLA: I'm not in it just for the allowance, but after all, we are all on this site for a reason.
LAH: In just two years, Bella has put $30,000 towards her college debt. She says she's only been intimate with two men, probably fewer partners than other women her age.
What is the difference between you and someone who's a paid escort?
BELLA: An escort gets paid to leave. I get a part of their wealth to see them again.
LAH: Just like other dating websites, group people for instance, by religion, what Bella is saying is that the only difference with this particular Web site is that it's grouping people by financial needs and goals -- Erin.
BURNETT: That was fascinating. Kyung, thank you very much. We'll post that one online. It was really amazing.
Still OUTFRONT, a major new terror concern tonight. Americans who want to attack the United States.
And more fallout from attorney general Eric Holder's comment about race. So, now, more people saying he's race baiting. Is he, though? That's our OUTFRONT online poll of the day. Let us know what young at CNN.com/outfront.
And we've all been there. Frustrated with your cable company's customer service? Yes, sounds familiar, right? This call, though, says it all.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help me understand why you can't just disconnect us.
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BURNETT: Tonight, intelligence and law enforcement officials sounding the alarm about Americans who could be plotting terror attacks in the United States. Officials worry they could lose track of citizens traveling to Syria to train with extremists. The question is, how big is this threat? Barbara Starr is OUTFRONT.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has learned U.S. intelligence and law enforcement are stepping up tracking Americans, fighting with extremists in Syria, worried they could lose track of those plotting to return and conduct homeland attacks. The FBI has dozens of investigations underway of Americans back in the U.S.
JOHN CARLIN, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: The FBI and other members of the intelligence community have made this a top priority and are taking whatever steps they can, under the law, to monitor and prevent those coming back from doing us harm.
STARR: The government has begun an intense effort to collect information overseas on Syrian training camps, and also trying to identify Americans at home, even before they travel to Syria, so they know if those Americans come back. U.S. officials tell CNN, not all potential suspects may be on the no-fly list, making it harder for investigators.
And more worry, thousands of fighters in Syria with European passports, and able to enter the U.S. Officials tell CNN, not all European countries are sharing the names of all of their suspect citizens.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: We've got to make sure we partner with Europe, so that we know who's coming back.
STARR: Alarms went off when a Nigerian extremist opened fire at the Jewish museum in Brussels in May, after training with ISIS in Syria. He traveled through several countries in Europe before he was arrested in France. U.S. officials said it was a wake-up call that borders can be readily crossed.
STARR: And the worry even escalated further, when U.S. intelligence learned that technology to make undetectable bombs that could get past U.S. airport security potentially, that technology had actually been transferred, potentially, to operatives in Syria and that is the concern with about 100 Americans, perhaps, fighting in Syria, could they get their hands on that technology and try to bring it back into the United States.
BURNETT: Barbara, thank you. Well, the attorney general is under fire, still, for what he said about the president and race. And he spoke again today about discrimination.
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ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: As it stands, our society is not yet color blind, nor should it be, given the disparities that still afflict and divide us.
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BURNETT: It's his comments that there is a racial animus directed at him and the president that continues to stoke criticism from the right. Here's Karl Rove on Fox News today.
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KARL ROVE, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: This really is reprehensible conduct. He's the attorney general. To suggest that if people criticize President Obama, he's planting the seed that the reason you're criticizing President Obama is not a legitimate discrimination over issues or conduct, it's because you're a racist.
The last possible defense of someone who is not willing to step up and have an argument on the basis of the facts and the equities of the issues, it's someone who just wants to slander his political opponents and his political critics. And it is unacceptable in our country.
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BURNETT: A question we've been asking our viewers to weigh in on all day is this, is Attorney General Eric Holder race baiting? Here are the results, 68 percent of you say yes, 32 percent say no. Joining me again OUTFRONT, our legal analyst, Sunny Hostin, conservative CNN political commentators, Greg Anthony and Ben Ferguson, and a new voice to this issue for us, our political analyst and Democratic strategist, Paul Begala.
Paul, you're new. Let me start with you. What do you think about what Karl Rove had to say? That when your back's against the wall and you don't want to have a fight, you say, if you pick a fight with me, you're a racist?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: As we say in Texas, Karl's an expert on reprehensible behavior, so I'll let him speak for himself. The person who knows this best is not Mr. Rove, it's our president. Here's what he has said about this. He did an interview with "The New Yorker" back in January. It was a terrific interview, one of the best interviews President Obama has given.
But here's what he said on this topic. He says, there's no doubt that just really dislike me because they just don't like the idea of a black president. But the flip side, there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I'm a black president.
And I think that's right. It's a double-edged sword. In the main, most of the people who oppose him oppose him on issues and principle and they're very good people. But there's also a strain of racism in America. To deny that is to deny reality.
BURNETT: Sunny, it's interesting that it goes both ways. Look at the approval rating of the president, in the 40s. But when you look at it among black Americans, it's 93 percent. That's -- if it's racism the other way, isn't that racism pro?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think it's racism, but I think that people certainly, we see it in the business world that people promote those that look like themselves. They're more comfortable, sometimes, with those that look like themselves. We see that all across the board. But I do think that his point is a valid one. In that racism does exist, OK?
It exists and that is the bottom line. And so to suggest that it doesn't exist, and to suggest that our attorney general is, you know, reprehensible for having commented, I think, in a very measured way, and pointed out the reality that it does exist, is just -- it's naive, it's ridiculous.
BURNETT: Go ahead, Ben?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: To suggest that someone that disagrees with your political opinion is disagreeing with you and that they're a racist is also just as extreme and unfair to those. I should be able to disagree, and anyone, should be able to disagree with this president, without having to be labeled. Because the going's gotten tough for Eric Holder, that somehow I'm a racist.
Now, when I criticize Bill Clinton, I wasn't a racist. When I criticized any other Democrat, if I criticized John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, I'm not a racist. But he's throwing down the race card and making people somehow be nervous or anxious, and my gosh, you come after me or my policies, I'm going to say that maybe you don't like me because of the color of my skin, and that's why it's not right.
BURNETT: Greg, isn't there something in between here? I mean, you don't want to hide behind race, but there are people who hide behind policy because they don't like that he's black.
GREG ANTHONY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, let me just send out a memo. We have racism in America, OK? We all know it. Everybody on this panel knows it. The issue, though, is not that it exists, the question is whether or not it permeates enough throughout society that it doesn't allow the attorney general or the president to do their job.
And I think the comments that Paul Begala made about what the president said in that article are spot-on. That, yes, there is an element -- we all acknowledge there's an element in our society, a fringe element, that is racist. That they don't like certain people, because of their ethnicity, their gender, or their race.
It's made America great, and the reason we have an African-American president, and also an African-American attorney general, is that it's not the predominant theory --
BURNETT: Well, you're saying because it's fringe. You're emphasis is on the word fringe, as opposed to it being a more mass problem on the right --
HOSTIN: But our attorney general --
BURNETT: -- of the political side of the ledger.
HOSTIN: Our attorney general didn't say it was a driver, he said, it was, in part a driver and I think that is accurate. Whether or not it be a fringe, whether or not it be part of a fringe. The bottom line is that I think that everyone understands that some of the attitudes and some of the resistance that the attorney general has received and that the president has received is in part because of racial animus.
FERGUSON: From who?
HOSTIN: That is just accurate.
FERGUSON: But from who? Has racism allowed them not to do their job? He's been re-elected -- he's been re-elected once, re-elected another time. He's serving the maximum amount of years that a president can serve. And Eric Holder has been in that job with quite a few screw ups and never had to worry about losing his job over some of the controversy around him.
But now you see the administration, he's now pulling back in this racial issue, when the people around him, in Congress, in the House and in Senate, and those that he has had to work, he's been able to do his job without having to deal with race in this job. And to bring it up is not playing in the big game, on the big stage with the United States of America.
HOSTIN: So to suggest that they've been able to do their job without race being an issue is very naive and intellectually dishonest. It's intellectually dishonest.
FERGUSON: What policy should they not have been able to implement?
HOSTIN: Are you kidding me?
BURNETT: Hold on, hold on, hold on. One second. Sunny, can you answer that question? Was there a single policy that you would say the president was turned down on, not able to do because of race specifically?
HOSTIN: He hasn't been able to do anything. Congress has shut down every single thing.
BURNETT: What about health care reform?
HOSTIN: Really, you don't think race hasn't played any part in that! So are you suggesting race hasn't played any part?
BURNETT: Ben, reply.
FERGUSON: When George Bush couldn't get anything done the last two years of his presidency, he couldn't get things done because the country had turned and Congress had turned. But this president doesn't get things done, and you're like, everybody's a racist.
HOSTIN: Are you suggesting it has played no part whatsoever?
BURNETT: Hold on. Part of this -- hold on, Ben. Part of this issue, Sunny, you talked about yesterday. Take our country back. Is that, in and of itself, something with racial undertones? You made the argument as to why it could be --
HOSTIN: It depends on the context.
BURNETT: Right. Rush Limbaugh talked about this segment. We talked about this last night on this program. He talked about it on his show and he went on very specifically on this issue of take our country back, responding to you, Sunny.
HOSTIN: You said it was the star of his show today.
BURNETT: So here is Rush Limbaugh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH: This is about liberalism! Taking our country back means regaining our freedom. Taking our country back means getting control of government and shrinking it. And getting it more and more out of our lives. Taking our country back means returning to the principles and the traditions of the founding. It has nothing to do with taking it back from a black president. The only relevance about Obama's race is how it allows him to proceed without criticism. Everybody's afraid to criticize him, because people like you are going to run around and say it's all racist, when race has nothing to do with this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Are people afraid to criticize him, in some cases, Sunny, because they're afraid that they'll be called racist?
HOSTIN: Look, I think, you know, Rush Limbaugh, I almost don't want to respond to give him this platform. But the bottom line is, he, himself, has made race an issue when talking about President Obama. He's called President Obama in 2007, halfrican-American. In 2008, he said that he was a rookie whose only chance of winning was that he was black.
In 2009, he described Obama's entire economic plan as reparations. He's called President Obama an angry black guy. He's called him an affirmative action candidate. So for Rush Limbaugh, of all people, to say that race is not a part of this discussion and this narrative is laughable! It's laughable, Mr. Limbaugh.
BEGALA: Yes, I think these things are best done the way Sunny just did, with specifics. Let me give you one. Actually, I would like to ask the other panelists, because I think they have a really great variety of experiences here. When the former governor of Alaska, the vice presidential candidate of the Republican Party, Sarah Palin, said that the president was shucking and jiving about Benghazi, Colin Powell, a Republican, a conservative, a four-star general, a Bush administration cabinet member went on "Meet the Press" and said that was racial. I'm curious whether the panel agrees with General Powell.
BURNETT: I'll give you a final word.
ANTHONY: Let me ask the question of Paul Begala.
BURNETT: Answer his first and then we are tight on time.
ANTHONY: Well, well, what I want to know is, was it racist when the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, said that the president, because, you know, he has a chance to win, because he don't speak with a negro dialect? Was that racist?
BEGALA: No. By the way, neither is take it back. I wrote a whole book attacking George W. Bush called "Take It Back," our country, our future.
ANTHONY: That's not what I asked you.
BURNETT: All right, all right, all right, unfortunately --
ANTHONY: No, it's not at all.
HOSTIN: I'm happy to answer Paul's question. Yes, Paul, that was racist. That was a racist comment and I agree with General Powell.
BURNETT: All right.
HOSTIN: I'm happy to agree.
BURNETT: I will merely hit pause there. We'll have you all back again because this conversation has a lot longer to go. Night after night, we will continue to do this.
And still to come, the phone conversation everybody's talking about. Did a Comcast employee cross the line when he tried to keep one customer's business? This is a call from hell.
And what is it like to travel 100 miles an hour in a hot tub? Actually, that would be hot. Well, Jeanne Moos has the story.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: So if you've ever tried to cancel your cable service, you know how difficult it can be to do it over the phone. There's the wheeling and dealing to get you to stay. But what you're about to hear takes the cake when it comes to cancellation calls.
Ryan Block was trying to cancel his Comcast service over the weekend. It went on for 10 minutes. He got nowhere and then, then he started recording his conversation with a representative.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLOCK: OK, we'd like to disconnect. We'd like to disconnect, please.
COMCAST: So, why is it that you don't want the faster speed? Help me understand why you don't want faster internet?
BLOCK: Help me understand why you can't just disconnect us?
COMCAST: Why not keep what you know works?
BLOCK: Because we're not doing that. So please proceed to disconnect our service.
COMCAST: OK, so you don't want a good service? You don't want something that works?
BLOCK: No, I guess I don't want something that works.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right, after some back and forth, it finally sounds like Ryan is about to get his wish but wait.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMCAST: We'll just bypass all this information, I'll go ahead and disconnect your service, OK?
BLOCK: Fantastic, thank you.
COMCAST: It's really a shame to see you go to something that can't give you what we can?
BLOCK: Well, if that winds up being the case, we'll call you back and we'll reconnect.
COMCAST: I mean, you're not going to get 100,000 free on-demand titles, you're not going to get 105 megabits per second for your internet. Guaranteed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Joe is with me. Because the call went on for another 2 minutes so total 18 minutes. Look, you got to give the customer service rep some credit for being unbelievable diehard supporter for Comcast. Comcast is forced to respond and here is what they said. The way in which our representative communicated with them is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We're investigating the situation and will take quick action.
Joe Concha is OUTFRONT. OK, it took 18 minutes for the guy to get his service, at the end it was put through the 1,000 --
JOE CONCHA, MEDIAITE: A 100,000, Erin.
BURNETT: A 100,000, I don't want to short change it Comcast. Have you ever heard of anything like this?
CONCHA: I would imagine in your single days you had break ups like this, what am I doing wrong? Except this is a cable company, right? Look, what you can do and what I do, you ever call a customer service they say for quality assurance, this call is being recorded. That's funny, I'm recording this call, too, and they laugh, but that's a good way to do this.
And Ryan Block is the Rosa Parks of customers of trailblazer because by making this sort of threat and Comcast, this huge company that has to respond, now, they are afraid that everybody is going to follow his lead and record these conversations and it goes viral on YouTube and boy, that's the best weapon customers can have.
BURNETT: You know, what is incredible is that Ryan Block, the customer had been with Comcast for nine years. Now, I mean, I'm not going to pick on Comcast because I know Time Warner isn't Time Warner Cable, cable companies are all uniformly hated. But nine years is a long time to be with one cable company and the representative brings that up during the exchange. He says why are you going to leave? He says it's none of your business. He says it is his business. Is everybody going to leave cable?
CONCHA: I don't think totally. The living room experience is a living room experience. The World Cup last week for instance, the final, 1.8 million people watched it on the app. You can watch things on Netflix obviously with "House of Cards," "Orange Is The New Black," the living room is the living room and the big TV is the big TV.
BURNETT: All right, so what does Comcast need to do because they are buying Time Warner? When you look at the two biggest companies in the world, Time Warner and Comcast are the two worst.
CONCHA: Like times a number by zero. They are not compelled improve anything. They don't compete. They are like gangs, like, "The Bloods and Cripps," they control land and homes and people. So if you want to leave, when I lived somewhere I couldn't get Direct TV because I rented, I couldn't use the roof. I couldn't use Verizon Fios, if you're not compelled by competition to improve your customer service, they don't have to do anything. But if they want to avoid calls like this going viral, they will probably try to improve it to a certain extent.
BURNETT: It's 18 minutes. Joe Concha, thank you.
CONCHA: Thank you.
BURNETT: But still to come, the ultimate carpool. Jeanne Moos has the story after this.
BURNETT: A 100 miles an hour in a hot tub, here is Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What's hot about this hot tub isn't the temperature. It's speed.
DUNCAN FORSTER, CO-CREATOR, CARPOOL DEVILLE: I said what do you think it will feel like to go 100 miles an hour in a hot tub?
MOOS: They call the creation the carpool, the Carpool Deville because it was once a 1969 Cadillac, which they bought on eBay for $800 and proceeded to turn into a motorized hot tub. The goal?
FORSTER: We'll set the record for the world's fastest hot tub.
MOOS: They plan to do it here in August on the salt flaps in Utah where speed records are challenged once a year but in a hot tub? Is the sensation of driving with water like up to your chest?
FORSTER: You know, it feels remarkably natural. There is something about combing these two great passions driving and hot tubbing.
MOOS: They gutted the cab, reinforced it and installed a fiberglass tub that seats five plus the driver, the engine propels the car and heats the tub to over 102 degrees. The pool equipment is in the trunk, the pump, the filter, the overflow tank, so where is the gas pedal? The brakes? Not under water. The marine throttle came from marine equipment. What happens if you slam on the brakes?
FORSTER: I wouldn't recommend doing that.
MOOS: Duncan figures the water would splash onto the windshield and shoot back in the face. You almost need like a mask and snorkel. I was joking but he was not.
FORSTER: We are wondering if we should equipped the helmet with a snorkel.
MOOS: It shouldn't be hard to set the record for fastest hot tub because currently, nobody holds the record. Duncan and Phil built the car themselves, they raised over $11,000 on Kickstarter to pay the expenses. The car has regular automobile insurance. You need flood insurance?
FORSTER: I hadn't thought of that.
MOOS: It's time to get swashed DWI, driving while inundated. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Wonder what the ticket would be for that?
Thanks for watching. Anderson starts now.