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Deadly Storm Threatens Millions; Storm Hitting South Right Now; Markets At A Five-Year High; Gunman Boards School Bus; Gun Showdown On Capitol Hill Gun Showdown on Capitol Hill; Lewis Finds Redemption At Church

Aired January 30, 2013 - 13:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: -- miles an hour. Take a look at that, pictures of a tornado touching down. This is Adairsville, Georgia. Major damage in Georgia, several other southern states as well. One person in Tennessee was reportedly killed by a falling tree. And the owner of this damaged trailer described how scared she felt when the storm passed through.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just crackling. It was -- and then when it -- it was just the worst sound I have ever heard in my life. That trailer -- you know, that's nothing compared to the life of this child there, that one. This is nothing compared to that.


MALVEAUX: So, this storm is also creating some pretty dangerous conditions on the roads now. Police in Kentucky say this tractor trailer, you see it there, flipped over after hitting a concrete barrier. Now, before the storm hit the south, it was the central U.S. that was hit, numerous crashes. We're talking about in Kansas, in Ohio as well.

I want to bring in our Chad Myers. Chad, we're seeing all kinds of video now coming out of our area where we are. A video of the tornado touching down in northern Georgia.


MALVEAUX: And Atlanta now getting hit.

MYERS: That's right.

MALVEAUX: What are we -- what are we following right now?

MYERS: Now, we have snow into Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. That's the north side of this. We have tornadoes on the south side of this. We had tornadoes yesterday. We have rain, flooding rain throughout the Northwest. This storm is literally a thousand miles, maybe 1,400 miles from north to south if you can consider the blizzard warnings north of there, up into Canada. So, a large storm that is producing cold air on one side and warm air on the other. And every time we get to this point where the warm air and the cold air are clashing, that's happening right now over our studio -- that we have the warm air here on this side where it's sunny in Atlanta, and then the cold air coming in behind Huntsville, temperatures dropping 20, 30 degrees in just a couple of hours. That's where the clash is occurring and when that clash occurs, we can get tornadoes here in America.

And that right there, here's Dallas, Georgia, this is a wind -- it's not really a radar, so to speak, that you understand with the blues and greens. But I understand it, because this shows me that the storm is actually rotating. Doppler is from the old doppler effect that when you hear a train coming compared to when the train leaves across the track when you're sitting there, it's a different tone. It sounds differently as the train is coming to you compared to as the train is leaving. That different tone tells you that the train is coming or leaving. It also tells us with the map that the rain drops are coming or going. And when that happens, it shows us that some are going -- some are not going, some are coming. And that means that it's circling, it's spinning. And that spin is heading toward Acworth, maybe toward Kennesaw, Georgia. If you're in those two towns, I-75 right along there, you need to be taking cover right now.

MALVEAUX: And, Chad, how many tornadoes do we expect this afternoon potentially?

MYERS: You know, it's hard to say. Every storm that I see out there is rotating. And now, there must be three right now, only one tornado warning. But there must be three that are ready to put down a warning because the weather service has a threshold. Not every storm is going to put down a tornado, and only like one out of thousand ever do. So, when they begin to spin, it may not be enough spin to put a warning out. But when they spin quite a bit, when they start to go around 20, 30, 40 miles per hour, all of the sudden, you can get a tornado to fall out. That's when the weather service will be issuing a warning.

MALVEAUX: All right, Chad. We're going to get back to you a little bit later here. I want to bring in our Miguel Marquez who is actually -- he's on the road. This is just northwest of Atlanta. He's joining us on the phone. And, Miguel, I know a lot of people who don't know the Atlanta area don't realize -- but, you know, I-75, when you've got a tornado touching down on I-75, that's a route that we all use to commute back and forth here to the CNN center. Give us a sense of what you are seeing.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, my god. It is an intense storm right now. The rain -- it's literally sheets of rain. Not only am I not familiar with Atlanta because I'm based out of Los Angeles, I'm not familiar with this much rain typically. And it is unbelievable. We're -- we had to get off of 75, at this point. We have just come through the area of Kennesaw where Chad was talking about. In Marietta, there are warnings going off. Where we are, it looks like the sky -- the clouds have come right down to the road where we are and we're -- it feels like we are just in a -- in a bathtub almost there's so much water coming down. The roads are -- there is so much water on the roads, hydroplaning is a real issue for us as well. There are several -- there are reports of several trucks and cars overturned on I-75, but we've been forced off before we get into traffic. In this area, a Daiichi plant has almost been leveled, it appears, by this storm. Nobody injured there -- amazingly enough, nobody injured. There is a motel on i-75 that sustained bad damage but fortunately everybody got out. There is a motel also along I-75 that we're seeing very bad damage but fortunately everybody got out. There are reports, though, from Varseau (ph) County that one person has been killed by a structural collapse. We know that a house had collapsed earlier and there may have been people trapped in there. We're not entirely sure if that's where it is but it is an unbelievably major storm coming through at the moment.

MALVEAUX: All right. And, Miguel, we're going to get back to you as this developing story -- as we follow this developing story.

Obviously, severe weather in Atlanta area, but also different pockets throughout the country here.

We're also keeping a big eye on the markets today. After they hit a five-year high. That is right. They've been soaring towards the 12,000 mark. I want to bring in Alison Kosik. I'm sorry, 14,000, correct -- I stand corrected there. This is a big deal, Alison. Tell us why.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: OK. So, a big reason why you're seeing the Dow kind of slowly edge toward that 14,000 mark, is -- a lot has to do with what the Federal Reserve is doing. What the fed is doing, it is buying up $85 billion in mortgage backed securities and treasuries. And what that essentially is doing is pouring all this money into the economy that's pushing down interest rates. It's putting down -- it's pushing down bond yield.

So, investors are saying, OK, so we're not going to make money any money in bonds. Where is an investor to go? They're going to go right to stocks. Now, it's not just the fed that has a hand in what we're seeing happen in the stock markets. Small investors are also coming back investing themselves. That's after they've pulled a hundred billion dollars out of the market last year. They're putting 13 billion -- they've put $13 billion back in since the beginning of 2013. Now, clearly, they're not coming back en masse (ph), but they are seeing these little improvements in the economy. That's giving these small investors more confidence to put their money back in the market, especially since you're seeing a decent fourth quarter earnings season underway.

But one trader that I talked with, he said that this rally that we're seeing is being artificially stimulated by the fed. And that's really what's creating this disconnect between how we are seeing stocks do and how we're seeing the economy do, especially since we got that GDP report, showing contractions, showing that the economy actually shrank at a .1 percent rate in the last three months of last year. I want to -- I want to play some of what he had to say.


KENNETH POLCARI, FLOOR TRADER AND DIRECTOR, O'NEIL SECURITIES: The economy is not anywhere where they thought it was or at least it wasn't certainly in the fourth quarter and it's going to be a continued struggle back. But the market is not really reacting so negatively because what that tells you is that today, if any day, Ben Bernanke has got, you know, free reign to not only saying he's not walking away, but that he stands ready to continue to support the markets and the economy.


KOSIK: And one other reason you are not seeing the market really react to negative -- to negative growth in the economy, it's because the way some investors see it, they say, you know what? You see how the economy reacted when the worries about the fiscal cliff were hanging around? Well, now, it looks like investors are feeling pretty confident that lawmakers are less likely to push through spending cuts once they take up the issue expected in March -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: So, this is a very good thing for most of us, right, in our 401Ks, yes?

KOSIK: Oh, definitely. You know, I mean, if you've looked at your 401K lately, it's probably doing pretty well because then you look at the S&P 500, that's what your portfolio mostly tracks, the S&P 500. It's the broader index. That's hitting new levels that are certainly high, it's at -- over 1,500 at this point -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Love the good news. Thank you, Alison, appreciate it.

Here's what we are working on this hour. There's a show down over gun control. It's playing out on Capitol Hill. And also, we're following -- this is happening on a day when Capitol Hill is debating gun rights, well, a gunman boards a school bus, kills the driver, takes a six-year-old hostage. That standoff is still going on.


MALVEAUX: So, you've got this showdown over gun control. It's playing out on Capitol Hill today. A Senate panel hears from NRA official who says more gun laws is not necessarily the answer. You also have emotional testimony from former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who is still struggling from the effects of a gunshot wound to the head.


GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: While we're ready to participate in a meaningful effort to solve these pressing problems, we must respectively, but honestly and firmly, disagree with some members of the committee and many in the media and all the gun control groups on what will keep our kids and keep our streets safe. Law abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals, nor do we believe that government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families.


MALVEAUX: I want to bring in our Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash who's on Capitol Hill along with our Crime and Justice Correspondent Joe Johns. And, Dana, we're going to talk about the debate, but, first, I really want to talk about that moment when we saw Gabrielle Giffords because this really, in some ways, it's a game changer because everybody pays attention. Everybody watches. And no matter how you feel about the gun debate, clearly that was the moment of the morning.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, there is no question about it. For members of the Senate to look at one of their own, a fellow former member of Congress speaking so haltingly and trying so hard to just get out the few sentences that she had. And, more importantly, to make the point that she wanted to make which is that -- you know, she's a gun owner and supporter, she thinks that safety needs to come first. But along those lines of emotion, there definitely was a moment that her husband had, later in the hearing, about the issue and about the shooting that took place that killed six people. He talked about -- he was trying to make the argument, Suzanne, for limiting those high-capacity rounds. And he talked about the fact that Jared Loughner, the shooter, his gun effectively jammed and what would have happened if those rounds had been limited? Listen to this.


MARK KELLY: I contend, if that same thing happened when he was trying to reload one 10-round magazine with another 10-round magazine, meaning he did not have access to a high-capacity magazine, and the same thing happened, Christina Taylor Green would be alive today. I certainly am willing to give up my right to own a high-capacity magazine to bring that young back -- that young girl.


BASH: And then, we heard something pretty powerful on the other side of that debate. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina telling the story of a mother hiding in a closet when an intruder came into the house, having a gun with six rounds, shooting five times at the shooter. And what would happen if she were limited in the kind of high-capacity ammunition she could get.


SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Let's agree on one thing. One bullet in the hands of the wrong person we should all try to prevent. But when you start telling me that I'm unreasonable for wanting that woman to have more than six bullets or to have an AR 15 with people roaming around my neighborhood, I reject the concept.


BASH: So, Suzanne, this hearing is -- has been going on for about three hours and you just get a little bit of a glimpse there of some of the intensity and emotion in the back and forth between the senators and the witnesses.

MALVEAUX: And I think it's so powerful, the fact that people are telling their own personal stories. I mean that really does kind of bring it home for a lot of folks.

I want to bring in Joe into the discussion to talk a little bit about some of the legislation here, whether or not it really does have a shot at passing or even moving forward, particularly when it comes to background checks. And I want to play an piece of sound here. This is an exchange. We have Wayne LaPierre of the NRA and then you have Senator Patrick Leahy.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: I'm talking about gun shows. Should we have mandatory background check at gun shows for sales of weapons?

WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXEC. V.P., NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: If you're a dealer, that's already the law. If you're talking --

LEAHY: That's not my question. Please, Mr. LaPierre, I'm not trying to play games here. But if you could, (INAUDIBLE), just answer my question.

LAPIERRE: Senator, I do not believe the way the law is working now, unfortunately, that it does any good to extend the law to private sales between hobbyists and collectors because --

LEAHY: OK. So you do not support mandatory background checks in all instances at gun shows?

LAPIERRE: We do not, because the fact is, the law right now is a failure the way it's working.


MALVEAUX: So, Joe, how is it playing out here when you've got opposition to the universal background checks, you also have opposition to closing the gun show loophole. Is there anything here that stands a chance of passing, of moving forward?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are some people, Suzanne, who are conservatives, who say they're willing to take a look at universal background checks as long as the universal program doesn't infringe on the rights of average Americans, law abiding, to have and possess arms.

It's also true, though, that there are serious problems with the background check system that need to be fixed. Not all the states participate in the program. Not all of them send their information to the federal government the way they're supposed to. So that needs to be improved. We've documented that in our reporting. The question is, how you fix the program so it's more regulatory. There seems to be a lot of support for finding a way to make it harder for people with serious mental problems to get guns. Again and again, Suzanne, you know, in so many mass shooting incidents, there are questions about whether the shooter was mentally incompetent or what have you. So that's one issue.

The large part of this, though, is about eliminating what you refer to, the so-called gun show loophole.


JOHNS: In other words, when people buy guns at gun shows and they don't go through background checks.


JOHNS: That's an issue. And the other issue is private sales, as LaPierre said.

MALVEAUX: All right.

JOHNS: So, a lot of things to think about.

MALVEAUX: OK. Joe Johns and Dana Bash, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

For the emotional -- after this emotional testimony from Gabrielle Giffords, I had a chance to talk to one of her close friends. This is Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. And she talked about just what it even takes for Giffords to get out there and to speak.


REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: I think it's really important to note, you know, she's not just reading that statement in a wrote way. You could -- you could hear the emotion and the power behind the statement she was making because she feels strongly about this, that we have to make sure that we deal with reducing gun violence in a responsible way.

MALVEAUX: And, Debbie, one thing that Dana mentioned was the fact, you know, after the shooting where she was one of the targets of assassination, there was very little action from even the Democrats who didn't want to touch this issue. Things have changed. It seems as if the landscape has changed somewhat. Both sides want to talk about it, seem willing to talk about it. After the Newtown shooting, what was her reaction when she saw that there was something that could happen that horrific after what had happened to her? What was her initial response?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, I think in the classic way that Gabby Giffords has always dealt with policy issues, you know, her own shooting and the decisions she made following it, clearly because she was focused on her own recovery, but also in the steps that they decided to take afterwards, you know, I think it was a classic response from Gabby and from Mark that it shouldn't be about them. When we got to Newtown and 20 six-year-olds were gunned down and that, at the end of the day, this is about making sure that we never have children subjected to that kind of violence and that no parent in America has to lose their child from senseless gun violence.

MALVEAUX: All right.


MALVEAUX: So what do we do about gun violence? That is the question on Capitol Hill. And Anderson Cooper, he is looking at both sides of the debate. Watch "Guns Under Fire," an "Anderson Cooper 360" town hall special Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

We now know who's going to fill the Senate seat John Kerry is leaving to become secretary of state. At least for now. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick naming William Cowan, his former chief of staff, to the post. He's going to serve until a special election is held in June. Kerry, who was confirmed by the full Senate as the next secretary of state, submitted his resignation last night.

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates speaking out about immigration. We're going to hear from him next.


MALVEAUX: Breaking news here. This just out of phoenix. This is video that is from our affiliate. This is KTVK. Police now responding to reports of a shooting. Multiple victims at a business complex. We are told this is near 16th Street and Glendale Avenue. This is in Phoenix. The business complex. Now, the suspect, we are learning, reportedly fled from the scene. There is a search that is now underway.

Now, we're looking at aerial shots as well. We understand that there are police cars that are on the scene. There are ambulances and fire engines as well that have responded to this report of this shooting. We also saw -- there you go. There you go. Now you see -- we've got the aerials there. Also, there was somebody who was rolled out on a stretcher earlier. This is certainly a situation that is now just unfolding. It is breaking news. We are following it with you.

And this comes on a day when there are people debating gun violence, gun rights in Washington. This is, again, a report that we have. Police responding to a multiple shooting. Multiple victims. This is a business center. And what you see there are officials who have gathered on the scene. They are trying to get information. We are trying to get information as well. We are not sure just what the extent of the injuries are or whether or not -- how serious this might be. But this is just developing here, as you see people who are beginning to gather.

From these aerial shots, reports again. You see the business complex as we pull out. You can see that building there. Multiple floors. But so far very little information. But we are learning that at least two victims in this shooting and that there is a suspect that is still on the loose. We're going to be following this very closely. We're going to take a quick break and then we're going to come right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Deer antler spray banned in professional sports. That's right. Apparently there is a banned suspect made from deer antlers that stimulates muscle growth. Athletes, they can't use it. But according to "Sports Illustrated," Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis did use it to heal faster. Lewis tore his triceps back in October. It was an injury that's so serious, it could have ended his season. Well, this morning, just four days before the Super Bowl, Lewis publically denied he ever used this banned substance.


RAY LEWIS, BALTIMORE RAVENS LINEBACKER: I think, honestly, and I'm going to say it very clearly again, I think it's probably one of the most embarrassing things that we can do on this type of stage. But when you let -- when you let cowards come in and do things like that, you know, to try to disturb something. I've said it before. I've said it a million times. And the reason why I'm smiling is because it's so funny of a story because I've never, ever took what he says or whatever I was supposed to do.


MALVEAUX: So, Ray Lewis, he is no stranger to controversy. Thirteen years ago, Lewis and two others were charged in the stabbing death of two people in Atlanta. His murder charge was eventually dropped. Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. Well, since then, he's stayed out of trouble. And our Carol Costello reports that he's now become a spiritual leader to some in Baltimore.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Empowerment Temple AME Church (ph) is awash in purple from the stage, to the choir, to the parishioners.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need you to lift up your voice. I will not be defeated.

COSTELLO: In Pastor Jamal Bryant's (ph) church, God is on the Ravens side. And why not. Bryant is Ray Lewis' pastor. The man who helped lead Lewis