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tv   Smerconish  CNN  March 2, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PST

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we will see you in a little bit. first, though, you get to see smerconish. i'm michael smerconish in philadelphia and we welcome our viewers from the united states and around the world. what fitell you the news of the week had nothing to do with michael cohen, of all things, joe biden felt he had to apologize, his response recognized where passion currently resides among democrats, which is not among risk as the party seeks a thomp bearer. speaking in nebraska, the former vice president was seeking relationships with american allies and he said this.
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>> the fact of the matter is, it was followed on by a guy. the guy the a decent guy, our vice president. who stood before this group of allies and leader and said, i'm here, on behalf of president trump. and there was dead silence. >> it was the reference to pence as a decent guy that landed biden in hot water on the left as evidenced by the tweet from actress lbgtq actress and former gubernatorial candidate cynthia nixon. joe biden, you called the most anti-lbgtq guy a decent guy. please consider how this falls on the ears of our community. almost immediately, biden relented. he tweeted this, you are right, cynthia, i was making a point in a foreign policy context under normal circumstances the vice president wouldn't be given a silent reaction on the world stage. there is nothing decent about
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being anti-lbgtq rights that includes the vice president. my colleague joked biden has probably called 200,000 people a decent guy during the course of his career. not necessarily because he agrees with them, rather it's a reflexion of the collegiality. and he is showing the vormer veep is out of touch. it's a different party, different than that which nominated obama and wide finance 28. it's a party woes grass roots presidential fundraising leader is a self-described democratic socialist, who's currently ranked number 1 presidential contender by the washington post and embraced medicare for all and seems to endorse private insurance. woes breakout star in the freshman class is a proponent of the green new deal which seeks to quote, guarantee a job with a family sustained wage to all people of the united states. and who this week warned
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colleagues that voting with republicans would land them on a list for a primary challenge. and let's not forget that a close colleague of aoc celebrated her own swearing in saying she and her colleagues will impeach the mfer. she is the great representative who seemed to call a republican colleague a racist. my point is, that there is a lot of passion for very progressive ideas on the democratic side of the aisle. the sort of proposal that enlivened the base of the party, the very people who can most be counted on in primary and caucus season. but can that energy be harnessed by someone who cannot only be nominated but also win a general election? some say it was the liberal fire brands who helped propel the dems to their historic mid-term results. polls show that most democrats prefer a candidate who can defeat trump. gallup recently found 54% of democrats and democrat leaning independents wanted the party to
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become more moderate. while only 41% wanted it to be more liberal. president trump, he looks at this as a gift. the sort of thinking that won't fly in a general election with high school-educated white males who crossed party lines to vote for him. he knows he has not expanded his electoral territory since 2016. think about this. can you identify a state that he lost in 2016 but has a better chance of rining in 2020? his fate rests with keeping everything he won in his column in the next go around. especially pennsylvania, ohio, wisconsin, michigan. voters with whom joe biden has a lot in common. that's why to trump, it's all socialism as he referenced in his state of the union address. and it explains why yesterday trump's running mate the aforementioned decent guy, mike pence, used that same word when speaking at the conservative
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conference cpac. joining me now to discuss is amy pard parnes. she wrote this piece inside waiting and co-author of the book 80 shattered, inside hillary clinton's doomed xab" and author of the upcoming book "the socialist manifesto." the case of radical politics in an era of extreme inequality and has a cover package called "when did everybody become a socialist"? i suspect you disagree with me. i've read your "guardian" essay on this general subject. you take the floor and tell me why i'm wrong. >> i don't think are you wrong that people should interpersonally be nice to one another. we have have strong disaagreements but there is nothing wrong with having collegiality. i think biden goes wrong, he is a part of a political
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establishment people don't like. they are looking for alternatives, too. he might if he runs in 2020 brand himself as the boys from scrant scranton, but people know for decades he has been the credit cashed senator from delaware. people know that he has been has a part of this muck they are frustrated with. the thing i disagree with you on, people don't associate moderate and liberal with bernie sanders and those same exact terms. sanders is winning over a lot of self-described moderate voters. for most americans, moderate means they don't like the liberal establishment. they certainly don't like conservatives. instead, they are looking for fresh new ideas, medicare for all, all these things sanders stands for. so i'm not if we can equate with being simple, not simple, more left wing, more right wing. >> i'll all for civility. i saw significance in the fact that joe biden felt he so quickly needed to afoleyapologi
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apologize and take on the issue with cynthia nixon. to me the less ideologically driven of those democratic candidates were the most successful. that's what reenforces my ploo ev that the democrats, i'll saw say it flat out, run a real risk by drifting too far to the left as they select someone to run against donald trump? >> well, if you look that's the polling right now, you have a vast majority of the occupation supporting medicare for all, free public tuition. these are the things we actually have the american people on. i think it's the battle becomes about politeness or about these little twitter barbs or wars, then, of course, will you have an issue, biden is obviously afraid that he's to the right of a leftward moving party. but i think the less is that people want new ideas and they're being to vote for people like donald trump. i think this is a golden opportunity to actually make the
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party about ideas and not just about personalities. >> amy, you have been writing about the biden campaign, if there is to be one. what significance did you attach, if any, to that apology? >> all right. there was definitely a lot of significance to it. as soon as i saw that tweet, i thought, okay, i've known he is running for a while now, that confirmed it, a, but b, it shows that he is a little worried that the period, well, he knows the party has drifted to the left and he is worried about misplacing it. the one thing that i think he is say, the one thing he has been, he has been kind of making a pitch lately to people, donors, to democrats across the board to say this is who i am. i have always worked with republicans. you know, i can canontinue to d that. she trying to appeal the independence and build the case how he can win in a primary. >> that is going to be the challenge for him. everyone has always said, he can probably defeat donald trump in a general election, but how does
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he get out of a primary? that is his big problem right now. >> amy, i want to ask you a question about the size of the field, but i think i'll set it up with the assistance of seth meyers. roll the tape. >> so many senators running. obviously, you see them. they are your colleagues. is it awkward you all know you are all trying to be president? >> you know, look, ha, ha, ha. >> i'll take that as a yes. >> the short answer is yes. >> yes. >> then i would say that's human interaction. >> we all have lunch together every tuesday. you got half the caucus running for president. it is kind of strange. >> amy, does the former vice president benefit from the enormity of this field? does it make the odds more likely there won't be a breakout star as compared to him say facing two or three opponents? >> yeah, it's funny you say that, michael. >> that is a part of his pitch
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he is making to people. he is saying the crowded field helps me. there are so many people particularly in the left kind of in that same lane. he kind of has his own strategy to be in kind of a more right wing if you will, but, he you know is also trying to make himself out to be progressive so he can kind of straddle that line if you will. i think that is what he is trying to say. he thinks a crowded field does help him. he thinks he is different than all the other candidates out there. i think he thinks that will benefit him. that's what he is trying to say. as i said before, a lot of the skepticism is around, well, you can -- how do you compete with all of these people who are fired up and speaking to where the base is right now. >> thank you so much for your expertise. really appreciate it. >> thank you. what are your thoughts? tweet me at smerconish. go to my facebook page. i will read responses what do we have? i mean it's not like he called him a dog, rat, horse farce,
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pocahontas, low iq, leaking, dumb, etc. he felt the need to immediately, he, biden, tamper down any controversy that may come from the most left within his own party. it speaks to where the passion rides, resides in the democratic party. but as amy parnes just said the issue is who can win the general election and get through the primary process? up ahead, two more states poised to join the growing movement to bypass the elect tractor-trailer college and have presidents thoseen by who wins the popular vote. is that ever going to happen? and should the name of actor john wayne be removed from the orange county airport because of some of his views? i'll discuss both with the person who raised the issue and with won of john wayne's sons. plus, i'm still haunted by the new hbo documentary that i have already watched called "leaving netherlands," in which
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two men allege michael jackson sexually abused them when they were young boys.
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. is america getting any closer to electing the presidentgy popular vote?
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yes is the short answer, doubtful it happens by 2020. quick civics lesson, there are 538 electors. one for each member of the house and senate, three for the district of colombia, each state gets the total number of their congressional delegation and two senators. it takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. twice in the last five cycles the popular vote winner has lost the election. which explains the move by 11 states and the district including new york, california, new jersey to pledge their electoral votes for the popular winner. the national popular vote initiative. it's an agreement among participating states, no matter who may win the state, the electoral votes go to whoever wins the popular vote. colorado and mexico might be next. if so, that would commit 186 electoral votes, which is 84 shy. for this to go into effect, some red states will have to agree.
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former maine governor paul le page issued this warning. >> which if they say what they will do, white people will not have anything to say. it will be the minorities that elect. it would be california, texas, florida. >> joining me now is new mexico state mimi stewart, a co-sponsor of the national vote initiative, which has already passed in her state's state house, for stewart, in colorado, a republican said, why don't you just go ahead and call this the we really, really, really, really hate donald trump bill. how much of this is about president trump? >> well, you know, i passed the first national popular vote, bill, out of the house when i was in the house of representatives in new mexico in 2009. that was way before donald trump. so this movement has been brewing for 15 years or more. so it originally wasn't about
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donald trump. i don't believe it's really about donald trump. i believe it's about the people who want to have the national popular vote count. we want to germany tee the presidency to the candidate two gets the most votes in all 50 states and d.c. that's what we want. irrespective of who is president because this could go both ways. >> sure. it could. i discussed that here in the past, as a matter of fact, with sam wong from the princeton election consortium. let me ask you this question. do you have any qualms with the possible outcome where your state, new mexico, may vote for candidate x but in the ends you are pledging your electors to candidates y. because that's the person who won the national popular vote? >> i think we need to look at it as a country, not a self centered my state, my state did this. my state did that.
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that doesn't really work for democracy in new mexico. because now it's six states that elect the president. it's not the rest of us. 30-to-40 states get no presidential visits, no ads, no polling, no organization of the parties. nothing, because it doesn't matter. it only matters in six or seven states. so when george w. bush was running against john kerry, bush got 3 million more votes than kerry but 60,000 vote differences in ohio would have elected kerry. so it's both parties should be paying attention to this. >> i pointed out if your state, new mexico and colorado come on board, will you get to 186. i want to put up on the screen, the math of the 2016 presidential. and ask you this question. you will need some red states to get this done.
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where do you think you have a shot? >> you know, we have i think it's now 30. either state houses or state senates. all over the country that have voted for this in the past. in the past, the arizona speaker of the house, a republican, carried the bill. so maybe right now republicans in red states are worried about it. but in the past, they have all been for it. so, this is not a partisan issue. it looks like that now. because of the current president. losing the popular vote by 3 million votes. but it's not a partisan issue. we will pick up some of these states, because we, they've voted for it in the past. it's only a matter of time. i wish it would happen sooner. but we are getting there. we are at 179 electoral votes. you might have the figures
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better, colorado just join. new mexico has passed at the statehouse. now it's in the state senate. but it's really not a partisan issue. even though it looks like it right now. >> i'm fascinated by it. i appreciate the update. thank you, senator stewart. >> thank you. still to come, actor john wayne was an american icon for decades. and his local airport was named in his honor. now, some want that change because of some of his views. his son is here to discuss and your view of another american icon michael jackson will never be the same. once you hear about the new hbo documentary "leaving neverland," which details his sexual alleged abuse of two young boys.
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gave nearly 15 years ago cause his name to be removed from an airport? that question has raised about the john wayne airport in santa ann ana, california, south of los angeles. in 1985, it was dedicated to the macho american icon, a local resident and had died of cancer. wayne starred in more than 150 films, more than half westerns, nominated for three oscars. he finally won for 1969's "true grit." but in this awoke era, new attention is being paid to inflammatory quotes from his interview in "playboy" magazine, like this one, i believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. >> that led to this proposal in the l.a. times, it's time to take john wayne's name off of the orange county airport. also here to respond is ethan
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wayne, the sixth of john wayne's seven children. he. acted in several movies with his late father. michael the 1971 interview preceded the naming of the airport. so presumably, those who made the decision to name the airport had awareness of these comments? >> sure. i think it was no secret that john wayne held extreme right-wing views. this was a part of his personal persona. the airport was named after him really not because there was any public clamor or community clamor to honor him. but it was a part of a political deal so that the airport could get expanded and the one political leader who imposed that, agreed to this deal, if john wayne's name would go on the airport. that's how this happened. >> how much of this debate, this conversation is due to the fact there have been some real
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significant changes politically speaking in orange county. you mention orange county to me, i think of the sort of rockbed conservatism and i think of your belinda nixon, the birch society coming out of that era. but it's changed. >> it's changed dramatically. the orange county was the old orange county we think of pre-1971, it was rock ribbed conservative republicanism that was exemplified by the political views of john wayne, that does not exist anymore. it's much more diveers politically, minorities, ethnic groups have a much stronger voice in orange county today than they did then. as we saw in november, when the last remaining republican members of congress were turfed out by the voters, it's become right now a 100% democratic delegation in congress.
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>> is it fair looking through a 2019 lens to hold john wayne accountable for things that he said in, pardon me, in 1971? >> yeah. i think the fact of the matter is that the views that he expressed in 1971 i think were extremist even for 1971. that was not a pre historic period. as i pointed out in my column, the civil rights movement was at high tide at that point. martin luther king had been assassinated three years before in 1964 and 1965, we had federal legislation for civil rights. rosa parks refused to give up her seat on the montgomery bus. in 1955. so these things were in the air. i think john wayne was reacting to that movement. he wasn't expressing an old view. he was reacting to the advances that we were seeing in the civil rights movement.
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>> michael, thank you. joining me now to respond is ethan wayne. not only john wayne's son, also president of the john wayne enterprises and director of the john wayne cancer foundation. ethan, this is some real tough stuff. i don't know that you will try to defend the words. let's at least let folks see what they were relative to gays. can we start with that? your father quoted in "playboy" magazine, if we can put that on the screen saying the following.
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and i did read the full interview. i didn't want to take anything out of context. respond to that. >> well, thank you for having me on, letting me respond. i think you do have to go to the context of that entire interview. this is an interview that took place over two days. i believe the transcript was eight hours long. it was a pretty contentious discussion over politics in the film industry so if we want to start, i think you started with the gay term you used a terrible word. no doubt about it. but he used it not in the context of an individual's sexuality. he used it in the context of the changing landscape of the motion picture business. something that distressed him. you know, my father worked in hollywood for 50 years and hollywood is probably, you know,
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one of the most progressive and diverse communities on earth. he didn't care what race, gender, sexual orientation you were. he cared how well, you did your job. he took everyone at face value. so, the second place he went i think was the native american questions. >> blacks. okay. do that one. >> okay. so my father made a mistake that some people make in interviews by repeating the language that the interviewer used. so that's where the term white supremacy came out. in fact, we duck through our archives. we found notes my father wrote to people about the concern about the use of his term. he explained it was a mistake, he repeated the interviewers language. he should have said supremacy of responsible people. they were discussing a group he believed was trying to use
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violence to gain power. my father would never approve of that he believed in the democratic system. so, lastly, i think he went to the american indians. and native americans, and i don't think anybody had a closer relationship to the natef americans than john wayne he is being asked pointedly political questions of an issue we have dealt with a century-and-a-half before my father gave the interview. we are still dealing with it today. you know, it's a complex question. my father had a great personal respect for native americans. he worked with them for half his career. when john wayne and a film crew would come to the valley or a reservation, it was economic boone for that tribe and those people. they appreciated him. i think they all, anyone that knew him would remember him fondly. he had a great respect for them
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as a people and for their art and culture. >> how concerned are you? i know you are speaking to me from ir52 inin orange county, where i'm sure it's a great matter of pride to the wayne family to have that airport named for your dad. how concerned are you that there will be this ground swell and that 9-foot statue will come down and the airport will lose its name? >> obviously, we don't want our fats attacked and we don't want to be besmirched by someone taking words from an interview eight hours long, putting them on context. they put my father's name on that airport, the same reason congress voted to give him a medal and a medal of freedom. it's recognition of a lifetime of significant contributions to this country, his community. and to his industry. i think it would be an injustice to judge someone based on an
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interview that's being used out of context. they're trying to contradict how he lived his life and how he lived his life is who he was. so any discussion of removing his name from the airport should include the full picture of the life of john wayne and not be based on a single outlier interview from half a century ago. >> the argument being that those quotes are not reflective of the interview in total or at least of the transcript of all that was recorded over the course of those two days? >> correct. you are taking a quote, where he uses a harsh term in relation to homosexually. he is not talking negatively about homosexuality. he is talking about the negative direction the film industry is taking in regard to sex, violence, and nudity. and so he spent much more time in theable discussing the violence of a film called the wild bun were. he had a formula for delivering
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family entertainment in a way that's still appreciated today and when he saw people coming in and trying to add a little bit more to sell more tickets, it was distressing to him. he felt it was bad for the film industry. i thought he thought it was bad for the country clipping away in general to nudity, sex and violence. >> here's my recommendation. i am putting in my twitter feed as we speak. the totality of the interview as it was published by "playboy" in 1971, i am encouraging people to read all of it and judge for themselves, thank you, ethan. i appreciate your time? thank you very much. let's check in on your tweets and facebook comments. what do we have, katherine? >> it's a complicated case. to look at those quotes in a
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vacuum. some of will you say not complicated. things he says about gays, blacks and native americans are abhoring. what you have to do and here's the challenge is to read the totality of what was offered and see if there is any justification. one thing is clear, he was very unsettled. i read it. about what he perceived as the left word drip of hollywood at that time, at that time, early '60s. up next, inhad a chance to see the documentary "leaving neverland." all i have to say about sexual abuse, man, are they disturbing. we didn't know where to turn for more information. that's why i recommend a free service called a place for mom. we have local senior living advisors who can answer your questions about dementia or memory care and, if necessary, help you find the right place for your mom or dad. we all want what's best for our parents, so call today.
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compelling. that's my personal review of having watched the highly anticipated hbo michael jackson documentary "leaving neverland." it debuts tomorrow and monday on hbo. no wonder the michael jackson estate so so concerned about the two-hour four-part documentary. it accuses michael jackson with having underaged relationships with young boys at the height of his fame. before i go further, parental discretion is advised. i will lay it out. the film focuses on the stories of two boys at age 7 australian wade danced on stage with him during the "bad" tour. the other is sails safechuck. she a child actor. will you remember him from this appearance in one of jackson's pepsi commercials when he was 10. today kobeson is 36, a coreing
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odpra o-- a choreographer who worked with britney spears. it details how boys were lured into sexual relationships the daily beast summarized. robeson and shave is chuck recount instruments of the masturbation, kissing, oral sex, forced to caress his nipples, being coaxed into painful anal sex. oprah winfrey taped an interview with both men and the film's director dan reed that will air immediately after the documentary and here's an except. >> you can explain to people why you want to continue the association if you have been abused? >> i had no understanding of it being abuse. you know, i loved michael. and all the times that i testified and, you know, the many, many times that i yushd over h -- gushed over him in public
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interviews, that was from a real place. >> i should mention cnn and hbo are owned by warner media. both gave sworn statements jackson did not molest them and the family denies jackson mo lested anybody and is suing for $180 million. they say it's one sided and violates a non-disparagement in the 1980s when it aired a jackson concert. the first sentence of the lawsuit says, quote, michael jackson is incident. period. michael's brother marlin said this to cnn. >> the makers of this film. they were not interested in trying to finding the evidence. they were cooperating with this documentary. we were available, others were available. i think you would want to get another side of the story. >> hbo released a statement saying, quote, despite the desperate lengths, hbo will move forward with the airing. to allow everyone to assess the
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film and the claims in it for themselves. joining seems to me dianne diamond, author of "be careful who you love." you have owned this story, 1993, you are the one that brought us the news of the jordan chandler lawsuit. >> right. >> you know these two. how surprised are you by these new revelations? >> not at all. not at all. i mean, i don't say that with any glee. but i'm not surprised at all. i was looking through the book as i was waiting to come on with you, i write about safeshuck. i write about robeson in this book. page after page after page as these two being two of the young boys who were alleged to have been molested by michael jackson. years and years and years ago. i quote, maids and neverland employees. so am i surprised? michael, no, not at all.
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>> one of them was the star witness in the criminal case. >> yes, i was in the courtroom when wade roebson took the stand, a lead defense witness, said nothing terrible ever happened with michael when michael's attorney was questioning him. then on cross examination, i watched wade robison's persona completely change and under questioning by the district attorney, he really kind of crumbled. and i thought to myself at that time, boy, i wonder if this guy will ever come forward and tell what really happened at neverland. don't forget, a mother of five. there are five young boys, jordan chandler, a boy, well, he was a man at the trial, jason franceia, a maid's son. there is gavin r. viejas em, wade robison, jimmy saychuck. there are five men now telling similar stories so is everybody lying?. >> i was going to say, right, they tell a similar story and dianne, i have to say this documentary is every bit about
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safechuck and robison as it is their families. and i think that's such an important ingredient here. the mothers carry enormous guilt from not having stepped in, interceded and cut michael jackson off from the access. i thought that was the dynamic that was most revealing at least to me as i watched. here's the question, though, now you raise a good issue. you say there are five who told the same story. of course, corey feldman and mccauley culkin spent a lot of time with michael jvenlthsackso. they deny anything inappropriate went on between them and jackson. i am wondering, who else, if anybody, comes forward. >> you know, i have a copy of my book they keep just for me. and in the back, i write a bunch of names of young boys who i suspect may now come forward. and it's a long list. it's like 24 names. so are there going to be more come forward? maybe. i think the take away on this
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is, for people who say, why are they coming forward now? have we learned nothing about the way child victims report? look at all the priestly sex abuse cases. 20, third years lat30 years lat boys come forward, it's especially hard fouboys to talk about their molestation. we shouldn't be surprised they come forward at this late date. i wouldn't be surprised if there is more coming forward. >> of course the response from the jackson estate or attorneys would be the old were you lying then or are you lying now? >> yes, michael jackson was found innocent. not guilty at that trial, i spent every day that that trial was on in that seat, watching. and he was found not guilty. and the family will under score that. but that doesn't mean things didn't happen. it just means that 12 people sitting in the box during that short period of time in history said, yeah, we have reasonable
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doubt. >> be careful who you love. thank you, diane diamond. >> you bet. >> still to come, your best and worst tweets and facebook comments, hit me. parents should be accountable. they have fame and money in their eyes and lisa kozgrove grigas, these mothers are carrying that burden. unmean, one of those fathers watch it for yourself, he took his own life. he had other issues going on, but the harm that was done not only to the boys allegedly, reportedly, got to protect the license here but the entire families is incalculable. i found it to be absolutely stunning. okay. i will come back there a moment with more social media reaction. when you join t-mobile you get two lines of unlimited with two of the latest phones included for just one hundred bucks a month. you get the price match guarantee.
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hit my facebook page, i can respond live and unscripted each week. smerconish, my guess is everyone watching you can read. why say mfer when the chyron shows the whole world? ray, i am a sirius xm guy, anything and everything goes. to the extent you're critical if we put up the full word, take it up with tlib. we're just reporting. smerconish, early presidents have slaves, should we take their names off everything as well? jg, i had a caller address that issue just yesterday, his point
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was this, and i thought it made sense. what differentiates robert e. lee, stonewall jackson from george washington? and the caller's comment which made a great deal of intuitive sense is it should be the totality f their record, what was their legacy. same about john wayne. should we judge him for several really offensive paragraphs in a 1971 rolling stone magazine interview or by the totality of his life. another one if we have time. enough. can we not leave john wayne, michael jackson, and others to rip with the many faults they had? i see wayne and jackson differently. the victims of jackson alleged are still with us and carrying the weight of what they say he did to them. thanks for the comments. catch up with us on cnn go and on demand. see you next week. uh, well, this will be the kitchen.
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