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Pastor at Megachurch Accused of Sexual Abuse to Give Sermon Addressing Charges; Online Phenomenon Features Dads Blogging About Fatherhood; Bill Allowing The Repeal Of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Blocked By Republicans; Republicans Claim They Will Repeal, Replace Health Care Bill if Elected; New Documentary Targets American Education System
Aired September 25, 2010 - 10:01 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: And people on this Saturday morning waking up to severe west. The governors of Minnesota and Wisconsin declaring states of emergency, hundreds of homes flooded.
Plus, 38 days from midterm elections and also 38 days and two years from the 2012 presidential election. Already some potential candidates for president vying for New Hampshire. We're going to tell you who's headed there today.
From the CNN center, this is CNN Saturday Morning. Good morning to you all. I'm Drew Griffin in for T.J. this morning. Thanks for starting your day with us.
Also coming up in the next 90 minutes, these stories. The FBI raiding several places in the Midwest, investigating groups that may support terrorism. But those groups are calling this harassment.
If you've got a medicine cabinet full of unused prescription drugs, they could pose a danger, so the DEA says you can turn them in. They have sites all across the country today. We'll tell you how to find a place close to you.
And after a minor glitch, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft is back on earth. Well, there are new developments today in the deepening sex scandal at one of the largest churches in the U.S.
Bishop Eddie Long leads a congregation of 25,000 people outside of Atlanta, but now four young men have filed separate lawsuits accusing him of coercing them into having sex when they were just teens. Long denies the accusations and says he'll address them tomorrow from the pulpit. Martin Savidge is here with a look at this growing scandal, growing story.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, indeed. And it challenges a huge religious empire here in the southeast.
This latest lawsuit was filed yesterday, late yesterday afternoon on behalf of 22-year-old Spencer La Grande. What's different is he did not attend the New Birth Church here in Atlanta but a conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2005 they met, they struck up a relationship over the telephone, but then over the next several months the bishop invited him to go to Africa with them.
And that's when La Grande says that the intimate sexual contact began. It lasted for several years all the way up to about 2009. Then like the other lawsuits, there is this ongoing practice where they allege that the young men are given all sorts of gifts, they they're given trips and meet celebrities, an and on and on.
We have talked about why has he not Bishop Long come out and been more vehement in his denials. His lawyers have come out. We went back and want you to hear the first statement that was made by Bishop Long after these lawsuits came to light, the first two lawsuits.
This was read on a national broadcast radio program on Wednesday morning and it's a statement attributed to Bishop Long. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG GILLEN, ATTORNEY FOR BISHOP EDDIE LONG: "Let me be clear, the charges against me and New Birth are false. I have devoted my life to helping others, and these false allegations hurt me deeply. But my faith is strong, and the truth will emerge." (END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Now, the other voice that we've heard in all of this is, of course, BJ Bernstein. She is the attorney that represents the young men that have come forward and filed these civil suits. She is very media-savvy. She's very free to talk to the media, and, in fact, here's one of her statements on Tuesday after the initial suits were filed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B.J. BERNSTEIN, PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY: He travels all around the world on these fancy planes, but he is destroying lives, he is living a falsehood. And no matter what happens with this lawsuit, we hope that it has come to light.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: And, of course, you see here that there's been this sort of revelation over the week with more lawsuits coming until, of course, the most recent one filed yesterday before a statement by the pastor tomorrow.
GRIFFIN: Long had agreed to do a radio interview earlier this week. He canceled that somewhat abruptly. CNN's Roland Martin was going to conduct that interview. He says his public silence for five, six days and the seriousness of the accusations require him to step down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Roland, you wrote an article this morning which I just got seconds ago, but briefing through it, you say, "While I disagree with waiting five days since the allegations were revealed, if someone accused me of doing this and I know in my heart I didn't do it, I'd be screaming from the top of Georgia's stone mountain."
You seem to have been asking the same question I am. Where is Eddie Long?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I was the one that interviewed Craig Gillen on the show Thursday. I was notified at midnight that night that bishop long was not going to be appearing.
I said the exact same thing. I said when you have these types of serious charges and you hire an attorney, you listen to your attorney. We dealt with this issue. It airs tomorrow. We talked to a crisis management expert who said you might disagree from the media standpoint, but from a PR standpoint, an attorney standpoint, you have to make sure that you're not making any possible statement publicly that could cut back and be used against you in any kind of legal situation.
This is a civil case. But, remember, BJ Bernstein, the attorney for the plaintiffs, she has called in federal authorities saying that, you know, with him being over the Longfellow Academy, that something is amiss there, and so you want to watch every single step. So, again, to each his own, but that's certainly the position that I know I certainly would take when you have these kind of serious charges.
GRIFFIN: Well, I mean that's obviously, as martin would say, the legal advice is to shut up, to let this play out in court. But I'm wondering, Roland, from a man-of-the-cloth standpoint, from a higher- calling standpoint, is that really the path he should be taking?
MARTIN: Again, even though he is a man of the cloth, you're still dealing with the legal issues. Secondly, if you look at the fourth lawsuit, the fourth lawsuit -- actually the third lawsuit names several other individuals who work for the churches as well.
If you also look at all of the different lawsuits, they raise -- it goes beyond sexual coercion. They talk about fiduciary responsibility, they talk about fraud. So the legal exposure from the church's standpoint stands beyond Bishop Eddie Long. They're saying others were involved as well.
So he also is the one who is the leader of the church, and so he is not only looking at a personal responsibility, he has to think about what are the potential legal exposure, financial exposure for the entire church.
And so, yes, man of cloth, but also CEO of the church, also personal responsibility. And so you have so many different layers here that you have to make the appropriate decision.
And so certainly -- so, again, I understand when you factor all of that in, the attorney's position might very well be, look, you don't say anything until you address your own congregation. We don't know what he's going to say. We don't know if he's going to deny it, if he's going to admit to it, if he's going to step down. And at the end of the day, although we have answers publicly, the people he has to most answer to is his congregation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: You know, Roland brings in a good point. These lawsuits, others knew about it, perhaps facilitated it, maybe you could bring in the world "conspired" to hide it.
SAVIDGE: Absolutely. That's what you find in third suit and now the fourth suit that comes out is that there are other names in the congregation that have been named, other church leaders. OK, they were not part of the sexual contact, but they were facilitators, as you say. They helped to provide the housing and the transportation, and above all, they helped to channel the funding that made or allowed this to happen all the while aware that this was being done.
GRIFFIN: All right, Martin Savidge covering this all week long. Art Franklin said yesterday the rumor that Bishop Long is stepping down on Sunday is absolutely false. He is and will continue to be the senior pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
We are going to have live coverage of Bishop Long's address to his congregation tomorrow morning, scheduled for 8:00 a.m. That's the services. You can see it right on CNN. Martin Savidge will be there, also getting insight as to what he might say.
SAVIDGE: It's going to be a remarkable day. For the congregation, this is, of course, a man who they may or may not lose faith in, but their faith in god, of course, remains intact. And that's important.
GRIFFIN: OK. Martin Savidge, thanks for joining us.
The military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, meet a real person behind those headlines.
We are also going to introduce you to a woman who got some news she's been waiting to hear for a long time. [
GRIFFIN: That is air force veteran Major Margaret Witt reacting to a federal judge's ruling Friday that found her discharge under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy unconstitutional. The judge ordered the Air Force to reinstate her to duty.
From Washington State to Washington, D.C., where Republicans, have successfully block the bill that would allow the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," it's being closely watched by current and former members of the military who were never asked and never revealed their sexual orientation in order to save their career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DANIEL ZABOROWSKI, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): I joined the air force in '85. I was in the air force for 21 years and retired in 206. What was different about me being in the air force was being gay and having a partner.
MARK BIRD: You've got to make sure you don't get too much on your brush.
My name is Mark Bird. I'm originally from Ellisville, Mississippi. We've been together 19 years. Every time Dan's had orders for a change of station, I've gone with him. And I was happy to do so because I love him and that's what a spouse or a partner would do. When Dan had functions of work, I would not attend.
ZABOROWSKI: If it was a gathering of friends, it would be easier to go to than air force function.
BIRD: If we were to slip up and someone found out we were guy, that could have cost Dan his career.
ZABOROWSKI: I retired from the Air Force four years ago. Mark was there.
BIRD: Before the ceremony, we went into a room and sat down with his colonel.
ZABOROWSKI: I had asked my colonel if I could recognize him on my certificate the way they recognize other spouses.
BIRD: And you could see the colonel got very uncomfortable. He's like, oh, we can't do that.
ZABOROWSKI: So I wasn't able to give mark a certificate, but during my speech I was able to present mark with a shadow box that represented the years we were together while I was in the Air Force, and I recognized him as my best friend who had been behind me most of the time.
If the "don't ask, don't tell" bill had passed, the 21 years I served will not have been in vain. Something good will come out of it. Maybe I had to conceal who I was, but maybe in the future men and women will be able to serve openly and not conceal who they are. It would have been really great to have had seen this pass.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Well, it's going to be hot, it's going to be cool, and it's going to be wet somewhere in the country. Weather, next.
GRIFFIN: I have never met anyone named Lisa who's threatening or menacing, and apparently the hurricane named Lisa is also not threatening or menacing, is that right, Reynolds Wolf?
REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. We love those stories. The ones that can fish storms stay out and harm fish, and not those that come ashore and cause problems. Lisa not a problem. Matthew might be a bit of an issue.
The other thing we've been dealing with in terms of these tropical systems, a lot of times they bring all kinds of rain, flash flooding. Well, it wasn't a tropical system that brought flooding to parts of the Midwest, especially in Wisconsin we have some video to share with you. That shows water piling up in maybe places. Not too far as we go to the video here.
You're seeing Minneapolis also got on it. This is cruising across parts of the Midwest. Now, another rainmaker that we have as we come back is going to be this line of showers that you see, and the big rainmaker for that is the area of low pressure and a frontal boundary.
This is really a changer too. It's not only going to provide shower activity, but what it's going to do is transfer a different air mass into the region. Once this frontal boundary pushes west to east, it's going to bring in cooler, drier air that will be felt in the coming days.
Today unfortunately, if you happen to be in Atlanta, that transformation cannot get here soon enough. It will be 90 today, 93 in Raleigh, 81 in San Francisco, 100 in Las Vegas.
Back to the tropics, we were talking about Lisa. Lisa, not an issue. This one, Matthew, expected to die auto over the Yucatan Peninsula, a big rainmaker. The winds to be 30 miles an hour. That's the latest in the forecast. Reynolds, let's send it back to you.
GRIFFIN: Reynolds, thanks.
You know, it's election season, right?
WOLF: Oh, yes.
GRIFFIN: Well, it's time to elect your CNN hero. Susan Burton's troubled past inspired a convict re-entry program that has helped over 40 female ex-cons get back on their feet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIKKI LAKE: Hi, I'm Rikki Lake. For the last two years I have had the honor of helping to recognize great works of everyday people changing the world at "CNN Heroes, an All Star Tribute." I am committed to building schools, providing education and preventing aids in Malawi. And I am thrilled to help CNN introduce one of this year's top ten honorees.
Now more than ever, the world needs heroes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SUSAN BURTON, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: I am writing in regards to my parole plan. I am 21 years old with two strikes. I am scared to relapse again. I want to be a success story.
We all leave prison saying I am going to get my life on track, and you end up getting off a bust downtown Los Angeles, skid row. People know who you are when you come off that bus, and you are targeted. Many times you don't even make it out of the skid row area before you are caught up into that cycle again.
My name is Susan Burton. After my son died, I used drugs and I just spiraled into a pit of darkness. I went to prison six times, and finally I found rehab. And I thought that I could help women come home from prison.
I picked them up, and bring them back into the house.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is like a mother to all of us. She offers you a warm bed and food, and like a real family.
BURTON: I want to see you shine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She made me want to change my life.
BURTON: You came a long way.
I want the women to realize they have something to contribute. That's what it's all about.
GRIFFIN: And you can go to CNNheroes.com to vote for the top ten CNN hero who inspires you the most. They'll all be honored hosted by Anderson Cooper on Thanksgiving night, a tradition here on CNN.
You know, it's no longer just moms taking to the web. Now dads are logging on for help and giving it as well. Josh Levs up right after the break to give us a new insight on the daddy bloggers.
GRIFFIN: Now to politics, shall we. The critical midterm elections 38 days away. The presidential election, two years away, and the hopefuls looking to gain support in a very important state, that state New Hampshire.
Mitt Romney is going to give a keynote speech this morning at the New Hampshire Republican Party state convention right on that stage. He's going do it at about 11:45 this morning.
New Hampshire holds first presidential primary, which is still 16 months off, but they're still talking it. Romney, the first of three potential Republican candidates targeting the position. Mississippi's governor Haley Barbour, also a former RNC chairman, will be in Manchester Monday for a fundraiser with gubernatorial nominee John Steven.
And Minnesota's governor Tim Pawlenty will be there Thursday, and he'll be campaigning with Steven. Reminder, you can get all of your headlines at CNN.politics.com.
GRIFFIN: Good pictures this morning from our guys out there. We've been talking about dads this morning, the changing face of fatherhood in America. We've been hearing from a lot of you. And Josh is here to tell us about the daddy bloggers.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We talked about it earlier on the show, and now more dads are at home and looking for information, and a lot have turned online. That's given birth to this phenomena of dad blogs out there. They had their first summit ever not long ago in Atlanta. I sat down with a group of these day bloggers and said what are dads looking for online?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC ELKINS, DATINGDAD.COM: They're really looking for other dads who are going through the same things they are and looking for some support, looking for some funny stories and really wanting to share the magic that it is -- that is being a father.
PAUL BANAS, GREATDAD.COM: Guys are responding the same way women have responded. They look for articles on potty training, getting babies to sleep, how to name their baby. And then they end up on relationship issues, because there are a lot of things guys don't talk about after babies are born.
We get a fair amount of traffic about sex after pregnancies because relationships change with that first baby.
LEVS: You don't hear about that stuff a lot, do you? Go ahead.
CLAY NICHOLS, DADLABS.COM: This role is being completely reinvented and a lot of men are out there wanting to talk about it. You can't go to your dad because his former fatherhood is completely different from what we see today. So it's new media, new fatherhood, and that's what we talk about here.
LEVS: So on your blog this is a place where you find information about it where they're sharing their experiences because they need that with that sense of community and they know there are other guys going through the same thing.
KEVIN METZGER, THEDADVOCATEPROJECT.COM: We're not the Peter Griffin or the Homer Simpson that we're often portrayed as. We're involved in our family. We're working. We're trying to provide. Or we're working at home in a lot of cases, and our role in the family is being real men.
LEVS: And what real men means, right? I mean that's part of it. What it means to be a real man now. Guys can get together and have poker night and talk. Guys can call each other. What is it specifically about being online that is offering dads something? What do they want from the web?
CC CHAPMAN, DIGITALDADS.COM: We're not out going to the PTA meetings necessarily. We're not meeting other guys in the neighborhood as often as we should, you know. The nights of poker night are not that easy and they don't happen as much. And that's one-quarter of the guys.
With the web, you get to talk to guys all around the world that you may never meet in person and you can share these ideas and have this conversation.
LEVS: When are they getting on blogs, because my day is so busy? If you have a job and you get home and have your kids, are they staying up late at 2:00 New Mexico the morning because they couldn't have sex?
When are they getting online?
DONNY CLAXTON, DADDYCLAXTON.COM: We're finding they're saying they're on the computer at work, but they also say there's a time of 30 minutes and two and half to three hours a day when they get home that they're actually going online.
LEVS: What are the biggest things that you think people in society don't understand about dads?
CHAPMAN: Dads are so active in their kids' lives. I mean I work from home. I have for four years. I help the kids with their home work. I'm the one signing their work and going for it. I love it. I would have it no other way.
And I think that's the biggest thing that people miss is that you still see all the advertisements, all the literature. Anything, it's always with the mom's slant on it, and it is a slight.
BANAS: Not only are we active, but we're competent. We're really good fathers.
I like changing the diapers or getting milk at night because it's a very human thing whether you're a man or a woman. It's a human thing. We want to promote that feeling to other men, to promote that same feeling being involved, also the larger society to see us that way.
LEVS: And this is becoming a business as well. A couple of the guys have given up their jobs to do this full time. They talk about this new growing market of dads as well.
We've been hearing from viewers all morning. Here's Kit who wrote on Facebook who said "More and more dads are in the picture. I'm one of them. Because the new frontier is as dads change, dads can either pick up the roles or get behind."
Here's one from John. "As a divorced dad, there's nothing ever said about good dads, only deadbeat guys. They want to be images on the internet of good dads." One more from Laurie. "Let's hear it for the step dads, the ones who step up."
You guys are both dads. We've been talking about this morning. You see the points they're making there, how much fatherhood has changed in the last 20, 30 years.
WOLF: One exception -- I spoke during the break with our director. One said he's happy to change diapers. No one is happy to change diapers.
LEVS: I know.
WOLF: You might be wanting to, you know, take part, but the idea of the diaper-changing thing, no.
LEVS: Yes. I'm not going to name the celebrity. He has five kids and he's never changed a diaper. I tell my wife that. Dads should do it. They should all be equal, but I never once truly will enjoyed that moment. Did you -- it's been so long for you.
GRIFFIN: No. We've flipped coins to see who does it. But --
LEVS: You're done.
LEVS: Good times.
GRIFFIN: Interesting. I had no clue that there's a whole community of daddy bloggers out there.
LEVS: That's why I was on the lookout.
GRIFFIN: Thanks, Josh, Reynolds, we'll be right back.
GRIFFIN: New provisions in the new health care law, they took effect. Now that the law is six months old a slew of those provisions are going into law as we speak. But they could be short lived if Republicans seize control of Congress. CNN's Jim Acosta taking a closer look this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, (R) DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: I would fight to repeal the bill.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a GOP battle cry for the midterm elections. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: The American people will be heard, and we'll repeal and replace.
SHARRON ANGLE, (R) NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: I have pledged as my first act of legislation to put in a "Repeal Obamacare" law.
ACOSTA: If the Republicans win a majority seat in Congress, one of the first things they do is plan to repeal President Obama's signature achievement, health care reform. Under a new GOP controlled House, Congressman Joe Barton would likely become a key member of the House committee overseeing health care. He says hearings would begin as soon as January to dismantle the law.
REP. JOE BARTON, (R) TEXAS: If we're given the opportunity, we are going to try to repeal it and then replace it, the sooner the better.
ACOSTA: That threat comes as provisions of the law go into effect this week, provisions that stop insurers from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions or dropping policies for people who get sick. Big expansions of coverage don't come until 2014.
Still, recent poll shows the law remains unpopular. Even some Democrats are running against it. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius argues the law will come around.
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: I think it's more confusing than unpopular.
ACOSTA: You would grant it's unpopular right now.
SEBELIUS: Well, when you say --
ACOSTA: It's not as popular as you would like.
SEBELIUS: That's accurate. I think it's based, though, a lot on people believing that the law contains elements that it doesn't have -- death panels.
ACOSTA: You're ready to have this debate all over again.
SEBELIUS: I am, indeed.
ACOSTA: So is the president, who points to parts of the bill that are popular.
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If young people don't have health insurance through their employer, that they can stay on their parents' health insurance up to the age of 26.
ACOSTA: Parts Congressman Barton wants to keep.
ACOSTA (on camera): Are there portions of the law that should be kept? BARTON: I think coverage of preexisting conditions, the ability to keep your insurance and not have it revoked unless you committed fraud --
ACOSTA (voice-over): Other Republicans say scrap the whole thing. Conservative activist Alex Cortez with defundit.org says the solution is to starve the law of money.
ALEX CORTES, DEFUNDIT.ORG: I mean one of our only options of defunding is go after the smaller provisions. We will not let Kathleen Sebelius implement and enforce this law.
ACOSTA: But tinkering with health care reform won't be easy. Any bill changing would likely be vetoed by the president and Republicans have no chance of picking up enough seats in the midterms to override any health care veto. But Republicans say because they don't have the votes doesn't mean they won't try. Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.
GRIFFIN: The health care debate certainly contentions. Earlier this morning I spoke with two lawmakers on opposite sides of the health care bill. Georgia Republican congressman Phil Gingrey who vows to work to repeal the new healthcare law and Democratic congresswoman Allison Schwartz who supports the new regulations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PHIL GINGREY, (R) GEORGIA: We have the power of the purse, we can defund. Every one of these agencies involved in implementing this new law will need $5 billion to $10 billion worth of appropriations. We can stop that. We can certainly stop the IRS from hiring the additional 15,000 inspectors to go over health insurance.
REP. ALLYSON SCHWARTZ, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: Insurance companies have been raising rates for families and employers 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 and sometimes 40 percent. This is what we're changing. This is what Phil Gingrey and Republicans want to stop.
They want to make sure the consumers don't have the power of the purse, that they don't get to choose their doctors, and insurance companies are in complete control. They want to take away the new rules that we're setting for insurance companies.
That's what Phil's saying. He wants to repeal this bill. He hates this bill. It's not about the bill. It's about the protections that are available.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Well, if you believe in polls, there could be a new turn ahead for anyone that likes the new health care laws. If the Republicans do regain a majority in Congress, they have vowed to repeal the new changes. You can take a look at this. With a little more than a month to go with midterm elections, results of the new CNN opinion research poll shows Republicans have a clear advantage with voters nationwide. When asked which party they favor, the GOP, the Republicans, came out on top by nine percentage points.
Four years ago it was the Democrats who had the public favor. The new poll indicating more than 20 percent of likely voters have yet to make up their mind.
Well, systems are under the microscope in a new documentary. We're going to look at some of the shocking claims in this new film.
GRIFFIN: Our education contributor Steve Perry here talk about the reach and impact of this film. Steve, thanks for joining us. Troubling, honestly. For the first time in America, this generation will be less literal than the one before it. That's one of the claims in the film. Is that true?
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: It is. If you were to go to any second grade class or any kindergarten and you were to ask every single child who wants to go to college, no matter what color, no matter what neighborhood, every hand would shoot up proudly.
Somewhere along the way the school systems fail our children, and as a result our country is failing.
GRIFFIN: You know, people who see this film, I imagine, are ready to rise up to do something. But it's a documentary. It's probably going to have limited release. Do you think this should be mandatory viewing?
PERRY: I wouldn't say it would be mandatory viewing, but in many ways it reminds me of the Rodney King video. We knew that type of outrage would happen if people had access to the information. This is the same thing.
I'm not surprised by anything that I've heard or seen about the film. I'm not surprised in any way. The one thing that would surprise me and inspire me is seeing more and more people that would get up and do something about it.
GRIFFIN: You mention the criticism of the film. The criticism is it leans against teachers' unions and towards charter schools where the teachers' unions have less impact. Do you thinking it's unfairly targeting teachers' unions?
PERRY: Not in the least. In fact, until the teachers' unions give an international apology for what they've done to our children, until they stand up and take full responsibility for the circumstances that they and they alone have created in our schools, the tenuous relationships between administration and educators and parents, until they stop blaming the parents and the community and stop asking for more money, we can't blame them enough. GRIFFIN: You know, unfortunately we don't have any teachers' union representative here, so I've got play devil's advocate. The teachers union are made up of teachers, and it is the teachers who are going to get us out of this situation in many cases. What is the solution here? We must have great teachers out there that want their kids to succeed.
PERRY: And the Catholic Church is made up of priests. Not everybody who does a job is necessarily good at their job.
What has to happen is principals and administrators have to start taking full responsibility for what happens in our schools. They have to work harder and harder to weed out the people who are not good at their job.
I was at Syracuse University and I had an opportunity to talk to some educators from the education school. I said every school on this campus seems to have a weed-out class, what's yours? They don't have it. Anyone who wants to be a teacher can be a teacher, and that's unfortunate.
We, those of us who create the educators and monitor them need to take responsibility. I as a principal need to take a responsibility for the circumstances that occur in my building.
I'm saying that we appreciate the gifts that are being given to educators and communities, but until such time that there's a fundamental, radically change to the way to operating schools, putting children above everything else, we'll continue to see this.
We can see in our time that we can change the way children's lives occur. I see it every single day. I'm saying we know how to solve this problem, run more effective schools, get rid of bad teachers, get rid of bad principals, and, as well, fire bad superintendents.
GRIFFIN: Steve Perry, thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.
PERRY: My pleasure.
GRIFFIN: Have you ever wondered what it was like to be in the middle of a hurricane? Reynolds Wolf will show it to you next.
GRIFFIN: Oprah, how much are you worth? Well, she is worth, $2.7 billion. She's 130th on "Forbes" richest Americans list. This is the last year of her popular daytime talk show. It looks like she's going to have enough money to kick it into retirement.
Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf is finally dried off. It was a great trip to a semi Caribbean destination. Take a look at how much fun he had.
WOLF: I've come here from Bermuda.
It's breath taking to see. High winds. You know what, Mike? The waters swept by winds, tree limbs from the top. There you see they come onshore. Notice how big they are.
Back in 2003 that was a system that caused all kinds of damage around the island.
GRIFFIN: That looks like a lot of fun.
WOLF: Wow. To be honest with you, that was actually the perfect hurricane. The reason I say it was the perfect hurricane is because there were no fatalities or injuries in Bermuda. That's the type we like.
Personally we like the ones I like to stay away from. That's exactly what's happening with this specific storm. Lisa is expected to continue to march through the north. It's going to run into a little bit of shears.
Also, this is tropical storm Matthew. It's expected to die out near the Yucatan Peninsula. It might continue to be a heavy rainmakers. Some places possibly up to a foot of rain. So flash flooding might be in the picture there.
GRIFFIN: Coming up next hour, Mitt Romney's keynote address at the New Hampshire Republican Party state convention. We've got the live camera already set up. He's expected to speak at 11:45 a.m. eastern. We're going to take you there live.