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Clinton Testifies On Libya Attack; House Votes On Debt Ceiling Soon; Cell Phone Tower Rescue; Facebook Envy; Food Fraud; Frigid Weather Hits Parts of the Country; Scan may Detect Brain Disease; Food Fraud On The Rise

Aired January 23, 2013 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I know they do, Michael. And you know what? But goats are interesting. It's great to see you.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ACHOR: It's good to see you, all yours.

SAVIDGE: This is the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Martin Savage in for Suzanne Malveaux. There is a lot going on this hour. The Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, they are meeting. It is headed by a group of Democrats, but it's not the same group that's led by Vice President Biden.

Also this hour, Nancy Pelosi and others reintroduce a bill aimed at combating violence against women. Plus, the House votes on the debt ceiling this hour. We will monitor those events and bring you the latest when it happens.

Hillary Clinton, an emotional one moment and then fired up the very next. We are talking about the secretary of state holding her own on Capitol Hill. And she testifies about that attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th of last year. It left four Americans dead including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya.

Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty has details about that hearing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the hot seat to answer for the administration's handling of the deadly attack, the secretary of state described the first chaotic hours when she monitored events from the State Department.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I instructed our senior department officials and our diplomatic security personnel to consider every option, to just break down the doors of the Libyan officials to get as much security support as we possibly could.

DOUGHERTY: Throughout the Senate hearing, there was no doubt how personally Clinton took the death of the four Americans in Benghazi.

CLINTON: I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters and the wives left alone to raise their children.

DOUGHERTY: But also clear, Republicans angry charges at the State Department and the Obama administration did not see the danger signs and were not forthcoming about what happened.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The American people deserve to know answers and they certainly don't deserve false answers. And the answers that were given the American people on September 15th by the ambassador to the United Nations were false.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Had I been president at the time and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it's inexcusable.

CLINTON: But what was --

DOUGHERTY: Clinton was not afraid to push back.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: No, no, no.

CLINTON: -- what they were doing it's still -- it's still --

JOHNSON: I -- again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and then something sprang out of that, an assault sprang out of that, and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact.

CLINTON: But, you know, --

JOHNSON: And the American people could have known that in days --

CLINTON: -- and --

JOHNSON: -- and they didn't know that.

CLINTON: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night or decided they would go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?

DOUGHERTY: A feisty Clinton told questioning senators, if they want security improved, they need to pay for it.

CLINTON: We've got to get our act together.

DOUGHERTY: Clinton told the committee that 20 other diplomatic posts are in as dangerous a situation as Benghazi and she warned of the spreading Jihadist threat throughout the region.

CLINTON: We are in for a struggle but it is a necessary struggle. We cannot permit northern Mali to be a safe haven.

DOUGHERTY: She said she cannot confirm new reports that attackers in Benghazi were involved last week's hostage taking in Algeria, but she added. CLINTON: There's no doubt that the Algerian terrorists had weapons from Libya. There's no doubt that the Malian remnants of AQIM have weapons from Libya.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: Jill Dougherty reporting there. And I want to bring in now Wolf Blitzer. He's in Washington. And, Wolf, we expected heated exchanges in that hearing and, of course, that's exactly what we got. What struck you most?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I thought that when senator McCain really went into point by point by point the criticism that he's been leveling now for some time and going after the secretary, why didn't you do this, why didn't you do that? I thought she would respond more forcefully to him as she did to Senator Ron Johnson earlier.

And you ran that clip in Jill's -- in Jill's piece. She didn't really respond directly to all the accusations that the -- that senator McCain made and she certainly didn't respond to that very direct assault on her by Senator Rand Paul when he said, if I had been president and you had ignored these earlier memos warning of security problems at Benghazi at the U.S. Diplomatic compound there, I would have fired you. And she really didn't -- she sort of shrugged him off. She shrugged McCain off. I was sort of surprised by that. I would have thought she would have -- would have responded in a more -- in a more specific, hard-hitting way. I was also surprised by the emotions she showed. The tough response to Senator Ron Johnson, but the very passionate, emotional, near choking back tears when she spoke -- when she spoke about those four Americans who were killed in Benghazi. It showed the range of her emotions on this day.

Remember, let's put it into some sort of context, for the past month plus, she's been pretty sick. She had a bad flu. She then fell. She fainted. She had a concussion. Then she had a blood clot in her head and she was in the hospital for a few days, a serious blood blot clot between her ear and her brain. Now she's back and she's doing the best she can but this has been a pretty emotional ride. This was certainly not, Martin, the way she was expecting her four years as secretary of state to end.

SAVIDGE: She will, of course, go before the House Foreign Affairs Committee next hour. And do you think it's going to be more of the same?

BLITZER: Yes. I think that they will be respectful of the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, they've urged all the Republicans to be respectful. But I do think there will be some tough questions and there will be some very strong statements along the line of what Senator Rand Paul did, what Senator John McCain did, Senator Ron Johnson, to a certain degree Marco Rubio on the Senate side. So, I do expect more of the same. And let's see if she responds in more specific detail to some of those specific allegations.

I didn't hear, you know, her go -- she says she really wasn't involved in that decision, the controversial decision to ask the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, to appear on those five Sunday talk shows five days or so after the attack on 911 -- September 11th of last year. She really said she had no role in that. That was a White House decision. I suspect we'll be hearing more about Susan Rice, what she said on that day. That's coming up later in the -- in the -- before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

SAVIDGE: Of course, as everyone knows, this is one of Hillary Clinton's final acts as secretary of state, and she has been given rave reviews for the work that she has done and so much traveling. Do you think this in any way tarnishes that record?

BLITZER: No. I think she will go forward and she's widely respected. I think she's going to take -- you know, obviously leave the State Department. John Kerry, once he's confirmed, and I think he will be confirmed, he has his own confirmation hearings tomorrow before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She'll move on. She's going to rest for a while. She'll do some projects. Maybe she'll write another book. But I suspect after a year or two, we're going to see her get back into the -- this is my own hunch, get back into the political arena. I still suspect she has a desire to be the first woman president of the United States.

SAVIDGE: Well, as I know, your hunches are very good. Wolf Blitzer, thanks very much.

BLITZER: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Hillary Clinton, as you just saw, finally appears on Capitol Hill. And she will address the House Foreign Affairs Committee and that'll be next hour. And then, later today, Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper will break it down for you on "THE SITUATION ROOM."

Well, we could see a break in the political standoff over the debt ceiling, at least a temporary one. The House is expected to vote this hour on a bill that will suspend the debt limit through mid-May. Athena Jones is following developments on Capitol Hill. Hello, Athena. And does this just kick the can down the road, again? What does this bill really do?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martin. Well, it really does kick the can down the road, again, to May to be exact. And it's something that some House Democrats say they have a problem with. We know that some of these votes are getting underway. There's a series of votes that have just started now, so we could be seeing this go down very, very soon.

What this bill does is it suspends the debt ceiling until May which means that treasury can borrow without limit to pay for America's obligations. This is something that gives Congress breathing room to deal with some of their other big fiscal challenges that we all know about. But it also -- what it does is lift this immediate threat of a default which is so dangerous not just for the American economy but for the global economy, it can really royal (ph) markets.

But it does so with a requirement, Republicans say, a price here requiring the Senate to pass a budget. Actually, both houses -- each House, I should say, would have to pass a budget or members of Congress won't be paid. Their pay -- their pay will be put in an escrow account and they won't be paid until each House has passed -- has passed a budget. So, that's a little bit of the stick the Republicans say they're trying to use. Senate Democrats say they have passed a budget, so there's an issue there. But idea is that this takes away some of the threat of a big default -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: House Republicans have, it seems, backed off their demand that any increase in the debt ceiling be matched with spending cuts. And I'm wondering, is this seen as a political retreat or are they hoping to gain something in return?

JONES: Well, both sides are kind of gloating here and claiming victory. You know, we had a press conference from Senate Democrats who said that this was a victory, that the House is now setting a precedent. They're stepping away from this idea that every -- that raising the debt ceiling must be accompanied by spending cuts. And they're decoupling that which is what the White House and Democrats argue should be done.

But, of course, people on the House are saying, well, now this forces the hand of the Senate, makes sure that they'll be able to layout -- spell out their priorities for the American people. So, each side is trying to spin this as a victory. But certainly the thinking is that at least this does -- one of the things that the president said he wanted to do which is to set aside the rest of these fiscal debates for another time and break them apart from the -- in the idea of raising the debt ceiling. So, it depends on who you ask -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: And after the debt ceiling, dare I ask? Is there another potential crisis waiting in the wings?

JONES: It seems like there's always a crisis, doesn't it? I mean, --

SAVIDGE: It does.

JONES: -- we still have the sequester that that fiscal cliff deal from the beginning of the year, all that did was kick the can down the road on those automatic spending cuts across the board. Spending cuts would affect almost every single department. We're talking about eight percent to 10 percent in cuts. That's something they also have to deal with. And also, the continuing budget resolution, that expires in the end of March. So, yet one more thing they have to deal with in the midst of all of this. So, more excitement on the way -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Yes, the excitement is one way to put it. Athena Jones there on Capitol Hill. Thanks very much.

JONES: Thanks.

SAVIDGE: This story, moments ago a utility worker was rescued from a cell phone tower in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He was trapped in that tower unable to get down because he's suffering from hypothermia. He's now being treated. Coming up, we'll take a look at how this cold snap is impacting the rest of the country.

And if you ever got jealous of your friends on Facebook, think they have a better life than you do? If so, you're not alone. We'll have a look at Facebook envy.

And if you buy fish or fruit jug juice, don't assume the ingredients are all natural. How you're being tricked at the grocery store, a look at food fraud.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 10 percent of the food you buy on the grocery shelf is probably adulterated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: Millions of people in the Midwest and the Northeast are dealing with bone chilling temperatures. And if you're wondering just how cold it is, take a look at this. A cup of hot water thrown in the air instantly turning to snow. And this is why. The highs are in the single digits and teens with the wind chill factors as low as 30 to 40 degrees below zero.

In Chicago, a building that was on fire became encased in ice after firefighters sprayed it with water. Chad Myers is in the weather center. And, Chad, what's causing the temperatures to plummet? I think I have a pretty good idea, but, I mean, we haven't seen this in a while.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, it's the jet stream that's pouring down from the arctic. When this happens, it allows the cold air to go all the way to the south. And irony is we had 11 states east of the Rockies today, Marty, that were at zero or below. And not one spot broke a record. No record lows Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, at least that we've seen so far on Wednesday. But you think, well, it must be cold. We must be breaking records. No, we're not. In fact, really, the records are the afternoon highs that aren't warming up.

You know, usually even if you get down to 10, it'll get up to 35 and you'll at least get some sunshine. It's not warming up. It gets down to 10 and gets up to, like, 17 so that's the issue. And the wind is blowing. Albany, New York, right now your wind chill of seven below zero. New York City, it's four above but the winds are coming out of the north, northwest at about 20 miles per hour at times. And that's going to funnel into those buildings making the wind tunnel affect throughout the city. So, in fact, if you're in Manhattan, that wind chill may feel colder than that.

Fargo, 26 below. That was not the wind chill record of this morning, though. Mount Washington, up in New Hampshire, had an air temperature 35 below, a wind, Marty, of 69 miles per hour, creating a wind chill factor of 85 below. Unbelievable. Jet stream pouring out of the north allowing the frigid air in Chicago and all of the Northeast. But it was 80 degrees in LA. It will be 80 degrees in LA again today, 81 in Phoenix, breaking a record high there.

So what's casing all of this cold air? If I tell you and I look at you straight in the face and tell you global warming, you're going to laugh at me. But, in fact, it's the case. Because there's no sea ice up in the arctic, the arctic is warmer than it should be. In fact, Quebec is colder than the arctic. When this happens, when this kind of surface happens, there's not cold air just pounded right over here, right over Santa Claus. The jet stream is allowed to expand farther to the south. And because the jet stream is expanding farther to the south, the cold air that should be bottled up here, making more sea ice and it's not, now expands into China, expands into Russia and all the way down to the U.S. And that's exactly the position we're in right now.

Marty.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: How long is it going to last, by the way?

MYERS: We warm up on Sunday. We could break record highs in the Northeast on Tuesday. And then another slam on Friday of next week, back down well below freezing. Probably below zero again for next weekend.

SAVIDGE: All right, so --

MYERS: Up and down and up and down.

SAVIDGE: Yes.

MYERS: And that's what this is doing. This jet stream up and down creates that warm-cold, warm-cold. My grandmother used to call it pneumonia weather.

SAVIDGE: Yes, exactly what I was thinking. Chad Myers, thanks very much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

The House is now voting on the debt limit. We'll talk about that in just a minute.

Also, CTE. It's a brain disease that cannot be diagnosed in the living. But a new study may change all of that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: The disease that eventually led to football player Junior Seau taking his own life is known as CTE and it's difficult to define because it cannot be diagnosed in living people. Well, a new study out of UCLA may have changed all of that. Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When he was a backup quarterback in the NFL, Wayne Clark was lucky to call a play or throw a pass. In fact, he spent most of his time on the sideline.

WAYNE CLARK, FORMER NFL QUARTERBACK: So I didn't take the steady contacts that other players did.

GUPTA: Except for one game, one concussion in 1972.

CLARK: I went down in a slump. I didn't know where I was and didn't know what was going on and so forth.

GUPTA: He spent several bleary hours confused and then boarded a plane back home.

CLARK: And somewhere over New Mexico or Arizona, I finally became aware of what was going on again.

GUPTA: Clark's brain was rattled, but it only happened once during his five-year career.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scans --

GUPTA: And that's what makes this picture of Clark's brain so interesting and perplexing. Researchers at UCLA say Clark has an abnormal protein called Tau (ph) in his brain. Now if Tau (ph) sounds familiar, that's because it's been found in the brains of several former NFL players. Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling, Junior Seau. All had serious cognitive and emotional problems and eventually committed suicide. They were diagnosed with CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Clark is cognitively normal.

GUPTA (on camera): Let me show you what I'm talking about. Take a look over here. That's a normal brain scan. Compare it to two players in the study who had had at least one concussion. You can immediately tell there are bright areas of yellow, bright areas of red. That's what the researchers believe indicates the presence of Tau.

Now, keep in mind, CTE in its most severe cases has memory problems, depression and anger. So they're not looking just whether or not Tau is present, but whether it's present in parts of the brain that are responsible for those emotions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're looking at --

GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Gary Small, the study's lead researcher, says he was surprised to find Tau in the brains of all five players in the study. Tau that until now could only be seen by pathologists after death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What pathologists have been seeing in the brain, these little Tau deposits, we could see the same pattern.

(END VIDEOTAPE) GUPTA: You know, it's a small study. It's very preliminary. You want to make sure this actually can apply to a larger part of the population, not just retired NFL players, but also high school players, Martin.

There's also -- this Tau protein is something that they're trying -- that's what they're trying to find. This test is a pretty good test for that, but it's not -- it could be other proteins that they might be finding as well. So they've got to figure out if they can make this more specific even as they go forward.

SAVIDGE: So, medically, how do you use this information?

GUPTA: Well, you know, what you'd like to do is say, look, somebody who may be at risk of developing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, because of football, because of blows to the head in some regard, could you have diagnosed this earlier? The follow-up question, which I think you're alluding to, is then what do you do about it?

SAVIDGE: Yes. Exactly.

GUPTA: And we don't have a great answer to that right now. The same thing with Alzheimer's disease. You can diagnose it earlier. You may be able to give medication to slow down the progression. You hope medically that if you learn more about the disease, it might advance treatments as well.

SAVIDGE: And do you learn more about the time frame? In other words, the time that it takes from when you suffer the injury to when you had the onset --

GUPTA: Yes. I think so. And you just met Mr. Clark there in the piece. You know he -- from a cognitive standpoint, he's perfectly normal. But he does have this evidence of Tau. So you may have actually figure out, you know, how this thing is progressing and may even give him a little bit of a glimpse of the future. He may have some early signs of CTE. So you've got to -- you know, we just see it at autopsy now.

SAVIDGE: Right.

GUPTA: As hard as that is to think about, here you might get an idea of the progression of this.

SAVIDGE: Yes. So many people have been effected. So I -- any news like this is hopeful.

GUPTA: I saw this in a player as young as 17 years old, Martin. In a high school football player. You know, and, obviously, it was a little precursor maybe to what life had in store for him. He didn't survive, but you wonder how this thing does affect people.

SAVIDGE: Yes. And many parents are going to be wondering the very same thing.

GUPTA: That's right.

SAVIDGE: All right, Sanjay, thanks very much.

GUPTA: You've got it.

SAVIDGE: And right now we are looking at the House that has just passed an extension on the U.S. debt limit. This is what we were talking about with Athena Jones a short while ago. The measure has now pushed the debt limit at least down the road until May. And the measure will now have to go before the Senate.

Also, fish, olive oil, honey, wine. They all might be items on your grocery list, but do you really get what you think you're buying? New research shows that some labels are misleading. A look at the foods you should research before you put them in the cart.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: Just want to remind you what is going on. The House, just a short bit ago, has passed the extension on the U.S. debt limit. That will extend that extension till May. The measure now has to go on to the Senate. We'll be keeping an eye on things.

Meanwhile, you can spend a lot of time, actually, when you're looking for the best of foods, like say the finest extra-virgin olive oil. But you really might not be getting what you're paying for. A new study says that food fraud is on the rise. Kat Kinsman is managing editor of the CNN flood blog Eatocracy.

And, Kat, let's start by just sort of explaining to me and others what exactly is food fraud and how serious is this problem?

KAT KINSMAN, EATOCRACY MANAGING EDITOR, CNN: Well, you know, we've been sort of joking, saying that if you are what you eat, you're having a bit of an identity crisis right now. There was a study just published today where 800 food items were added to the food fraud database. That is a 60 percent increase from last year. And what it basically boils down to is that producers of certain very common ingredients are substituting out parts of what you think you're getting. They might, you know, they might be diluting, they might be subbing in a whole different substance. What they're trying to do is cut down on their costs, get more money out of your pocket and definitely defraud you by not telling you exactly what you are getting, what you are paying for.

SAVIDGE: So what are some of the most common food fraud items?

KINSMAN: Well, this is pretty upsetting because some of these are things that are in our everyday diet. There is -- milk is a frequent one, olive oil, coffee, saffron is a little -- you know, not in everybody's diet every day, but it's still one of those things that you're paying top dollar for. So there's a certain amount of outrage about this. Spices are also really common.

SAVIDGE: Right. I mean some of these things we consider staples, vital. So what can we do to make sure that we're getting what we think we are getting? KINSMAN: Well, my colleague, Sarah Latrent, (ph) is an incredible smart shopper and she's come up with a few things to help you out at the grocery store. First of all, you are going to want to make sure if there is a whole alternative to use that. So if you can get a lemon instead of lemon juice. If you can get a whole spice instead of a ground spice, go for that.

Also, make sure that your -- if you can possibly, buy directly from a farmer or from a reputable source. Do that because there's no middleman trying to make an extra buck on you.

You also don't want to buy into the newest sort of food health trends. Those often aren't necessarily tested and those are some where the highest margins of this are happening.

You also want to beware of something called "white tuna," which is not necessarily real tuna. There is another fish that they're substituting in there, which is technically fine to eat but some people have a hard time digesting. So you just want to make sure, you know, to make sure you're getting actual tuna.

And also, educate yourself and train your palate a little bit. Trust your nose. Trust all of your senses to know if you've had honey before and this doesn't taste quite like honey, do a little bit of digging around.

SAVIDGE: Well, let me ask you, what's the reaction to this study about food fraud?

KINSMAN: Well, we asked on Twitter, and people are, as you can imagine, pretty outraged because this is what they're putting into their bodies and what is being taken out of their wallets. We had one person saying, "so true, so terrifying, definitely a situation where buying local and supporting local farmers becomes a key." And another person said, "yet another reason buying local and from vendors you've established a relationship with is so important."

SAVIDGE: And I'm wondering, is there any kind of arm of the federal government that is supposed to sort of keep them honest when it comes to ingredients and what they're doing as far as those that make the stuff?

KINSMAN: Yes. The FDA is supposed to be our advocate in this. And I think something we all need to remember is the FDA works for us and it's in our best interest to shout to them as loudly as possible. There are petitions out there. You can send notes to them. You can lobby your local representative and make sure that they are standing up for what you're putting into your body and what is going out of your wallet. You are your own best defense in this case.

SAVIDGE: And of course if you want more information where do we go?

KINSMAN: Go to eatocracy.com. It is front and center right there. And we are always happy to answer questions and comments.

SAVIDGE: Kat Kinsman serving up a healthy plate of food for thought. Thank you very much.

KINSMAN: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: She grew up idolizing Serena Williams and last night she beat Williams in the Australian opens quarter finals. A look at the 19-year-old Sloane Stephens.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)