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Tornado Touches Down In Georgia; Dow Flirting with All-Time High; Multiple Shooting In Phoenix

Aired January 30, 2013 - 14:00   ET


WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXEC. V.P. NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION (1993): Honest people use a gun in this country to defend themselves from criminals the system will not control.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: From the '90s to now. Two familiar opponents, once again battle over guns.

And, the most expensive home for sale in America has a very famous neighbor. We'll take you inside.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: Hi, everybody. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

And let's begin with this breaking news. Several states right now on alert as storms are ripping across the country. With a lot of video to get to, I want to begin in Georgia, where we are getting reports that people are trapped inside their homes after this tornado touched down. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tornado right near downtown Cartersville at this moment slashing toward I-75. Again, a tornado apparently about on the ground here in Adairsville. You can see to the right of this funnel some of the debris now coming up. This is only about a quarter of a mile from our location here on Highway 41.


BALDWIN: So this tornado here you're looking at leveled a small home, flipped over some 10 cars, one person died there after a building collapsed, and a man, we're also told, was killed in Nashville, Tennessee, where a tree fell on his home. You're looking here -- look at all the colors, the warnings. We're going to talk to Chad Myers here in a minute. But I want to get straight to Miguel Marquez. He has hopped on the phone with me from Adairsville, Georgia, just about 60 miles north of Atlanta.

So, Miguel, we saw the picture here of this tornado. Tell me -- tell me what you're seeing on the ground right now.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): A wide swath of damage through Adairsville, it looks like, for the most part. There is a hotel that's been shredded by this storm. There's a (INAUDIBLE) plant that makes heavy machinery. It's been shredded by this tornado. There are several businesses along the Adairsville highway, just off I-75, that have been damaged.

There are power lines down throughout the area. Trees are down, smashed into cars. Trailers overturned. Trailers damaged as well. We've seen a couple of neighborhoods where there is some fairly significant damage to trailer homes. It's not clear where that person died, but it's not very far from where I am right now.

It is still raining very hard here. The rain has been consistent. It's let up just a little bit.

The other thing that's interesting, we left Atlanta about 45 minutes ago, maybe an hour ago.


MARQUEZ: The temperature was about 66 degrees there. It's dropped to 58 here. So we're getting into that zone where you've got these temperature changes and it's -- it's a dangerous situation out here. We heard tornado warnings and sirens going off as we drove up here. In Marietta there was tornado warnings and sirens going off. People throughout this area spending much of this day in their basements. It is a very, very frightening day in this part of Georgia right now.

BALDWIN: Miguel, do me a favor, hang by, stay on the phone, because I want to ask you about these reports of people who are trapped.

But, Chad Myers, let me just hop over to you here. Tell me, because I got the note from you and the weather folks. I mean this isn't just Georgia. I'm looking at Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky affected by some kind of weather.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, about a thousand miles north to south.


MYERS: And yesterday it was -- it was Arkansas, Missouri, back in Oklahoma. And that weather that was here has now charged to the southeast, into very what we call juicy air. It's hot. It's humid. And if it's hot and humid where you are, then you are still in the danger zone. Storms can still be coming to you tonight because that's anywhere from eastern Pennsylvania, even into parts of New York, all the way down into Florida. And the cold air is on the back side of it.

Let me show you the drastic contrast from 11 below zero in Minot, North Dakota, right now, to 78 above in Miami, 70 above in Atlanta. So from Minot to Atlanta, you're talking 81 degrees. To Miami, look at that, 89. Your -- I mean, literally, you get up into Canada, you're talking just across our continent, North America, 100 degrees from the coldest spot to the warmest spot. You can't have that kind of contrast without something breaking. And today what was breaking was the weather. Here, I'm going to zoom in for you here because this is where we're most concerned still. Weather coming into Atlanta, Georgia, all the way up here. The tornado watch box all the way up to Winston-Salem, as far south as just about the northern part of Florida. So a wide swath of severe weather still potential for today, Brooke.

BALDWIN: So, Chad, let me just actually read an e-mail. One of the associate producers on our team here, we are Atlanta, world headquarters of CNN, and so as this is happening basically in our neck of the woods, one of the brothers of one of the folk on my team, you know, actually wrote in and said he's working in Alpharetta, this is part of greater Atlanta if you don't really know our neck of the woods. And he said that the sirens are going off at this huge corporation he works in. Just to echo sort of what Miguel was saying. All these sirens going off because there are fears that tornadoes are approaching. And he told us, everyone was told to move to the center of the building, and to quote this e-mail, he says "everyone is freaking out." Can't say I blame him.

Chad, I have more for you in a minute.

Miguel Marquez on the phone with me from Adairsville.

Miguel, back to these reports of people trapped. Do we know where they're trapped? Are they still trapped?

MARQUEZ: We don't. I can tell you we've just pulled up to the Daiichi plant and it is demolished. There's a bank right next to it. This is the Northside (ph) Bank. The roof has been completely taken off this. There are lines down everywhere. There is a fire hydrant that has -- that has been taken out and a stream of water shooting up maybe 50 feet at the plant itself. Much of the plant destroyed. It is absolute destruction here.

There was a hotel called the Relax Inn that was damaged very badly. It could be that some are trapped there. I understand that most of them, if not all of them, have gone now. They apparently have also gotten out of this plant, though, OK. But looking at it now, it's shocking. I don't understand how they could get out because it is -- there's nothing left. It is a pile. It's a pile of rubble at the moment with only part of the building left standing.

BALDWIN: And the name of the inn you mentioned is the Relax Inn. Miguel Marquez, we're going to come back to you. Hopefully we can establish a picture from you. You can talk to some of these people as far as what they felt, what they saw. Miguel Marquez for us in and around Adairsville, Georgia. Miguel, thank you.

Chad, really now to the big question, the why. I mean you look here across the country, folks are seeing, you know, winter one day and spring the next. Take a look with me and you're going to see here, Topeka, Kansas. Topeka, Kansas, people are out and about playing. Record high there about 77 degrees this week, 69 degrees yesterday. Feels like spring. But now, 27 degrees. People are freezing, freezing temperatures there and the hot and the cold temperatures, they're really what's triggering this violent storm system, like the one that has many on alert in Georgia right now.

And like this. Look at this. Strong winds in Texas. Tumbleweeds blowing about everywhere. This is Midland, Texas.

And then we have this video. This is from Tennessee. Look at what remains. A roof ripped off here because of the extreme winds. Roof after roof after roof. Homes flattened. And a 47-year-old man, as we mentioned at the top of the show, killed in Nashville when a tree fell on his home.

Chad Myers, let me just bring you back in. Because as we talk about this, it's like an extreme fluctuation in temperatures, right? Why?

MYERS: It certainly is. It's because the jet stream has dipped from the north to the south. And if you remember where we were at this time last week, the dip, this cold air was in a different spot. The dip was over the northeast. So people were going, man, it's cold. How did it get so cold so fast? And then this dip moved into the Atlantic Ocean.

Everything moves from west to east. It traveled across and now it's cold in the Atlantic. And so now all of a sudden the jet stream is dipping to the west. That's why the cold air is here. But it's rising up over here into Canada. Even warm in parts of Newfoundland, all the way up here into Nova Scotia, and that's allowing the warm air to get here. When it's warm and muggy, in Winston-Salem, or Columbia, South Carolina, like it is right now on a winter day, something is about to break.

And that is the break is the cold front you will see storms and thunderstorms all night long, showers even all the way up even into parts of the northeast that could be heavy enough to cause flooding. It's one of those days where there's so much moisture in the air, the cold air won't let it stay in the air. The cold air pushes into the warm air, the rain and the humidity in the air has to fall out. Some of it goes up and makes thunderstorms. Some of it just makes flooding.

BALDWIN: Chad, don't go too far. We'll continue talking, we'll continue looking at pictures. We'll talk to Miguel Marquez. And also we've got a tornado chaser coming up at the top of the hour. So, don't go anywhere here.

But let me get to this. Developing right now. All eyes on the Dow. It is flirting with its all-time closing high. That was 14,164.

Alison Kosik, let me go to you. I know you've been watching these numbers very, very closely today. And, of course, for those of us, right, with a 401(k), this could be great news, right?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, sure. I'd say it's safe to go ahead and peak at your portfolio at this point when you see the Dow inching toward that 14,000 level. It's about 1.5 percent away, but it is getting pretty close. And, you know, we like to talk about the Dow a lot, but we should also notice the S&P 500. It's also getting close to its record high as well.

So it makes you wonder why. Why does this happen? I'll give you two reasons. For one, the Federal Reserve. What the Federal Reserve is doing is it's pouring $85 billion each and every month. It's buying up mortgage-backed securities. It's buying treasuries. And what this is doing is it's pushing interest rates lower, it's pushing bond yields lower, so that means that investors aren't making such a great return on bonds, so there -- you know, where's an investor to go? They're going to go into stocks where they're going to try and make more money. That is one reason why you'll see these levels move up higher.

A second reason. You're seeing the small investor come back into the market after the small investor pulled out upwards of $100 billion out of the market last year. Just this year, the small investor has come back, pouring $13 billion back into the market. And that's partly because of confidence. You know, the average investor is seeing the economy make small improvements. We're seeing improvements in the housing market, consumer spending is going up.

But I spoke with one trader who was a little concerned that this is an artificial rally being stimulated by the Fed. Listen to this.


KENNETH POLCARI, O'NEIL SECURITIES: You can say we've already been here. But I think from a more optimistic viewpoint, you could say, listen, we came from the depths of despair. We are certainly much higher. But the thing that will cause people to continue to be concerned is, is it still ahead of itself? Is there a correction coming because the Fed has created this -- manufactured this rally?


KOSIK: But, Brooke, you know, think of the market -- the stock market as a big old rubber band. Just as much as it went down in 2009, March of 2009, the low for the Dow was 6,500, now we're seeing it bounce back almost to 14,000. You know how that is. What goes up, I don't even want to say it, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Darn that economic gravity, Alison Kosik.

Alison, thank you very much.

We want to keep talking about this because we were sort of thinking, why doesn't Wall Street sort of match what we're seeing on main street. So we're going to talk about that with Steven Moore of "The Wall Street Journal" about why the Dow is up and the economy is still shrinking. That in a moment.

But first, more breaking news here. A busy, busy Wednesday. Take a look at these pictures with me as I walk you through what we know. Aerial pictures from our affiliate KTVK. So you see all the cars, you see some fire trucks in the center of your screen. This is the Phoenix, Arizona, area. Police have responded to reports of a shooting. We know of multiple victims. This is a business complex, as you can tell. If you know this Phoenix area, this is 16th Street and Glendale Avenue. The issue with the suspect, this is according to affiliates, we're making calls here at CNN, but affiliates are telling us that the search is underway for the suspect. I want to bring in someone whose on the phone with me. She is Carol Aguilera (ph). She is inside a building just across the street from this Phoenix business center where this shooting happened.

Carol, you with me?

CAROL AGUILERA (via telephone): Yes, I am.

BALDWIN: Carol, first, let's just begin with your daughter-in-law. She's in this building on lockdown, correct?

AGUILERA: Yes, that's correct.

BALDWIN: Have you been in touch with her at all?

AGUILERA: Yes, I called her as soon as I found out what was going on. I called her. She's pretty shaken up. You could hear it in her voice she was trembling. She says she's hearing a lot of hearsay, but she doesn't really know what exactly happened. That it just happened so fast. And that they're just pretty shaken up.

BALDWIN: For obvious reasons.


BALDWIN: I would be as well. Did she hear shots?


BALDWIN: How many shots did she hear?

AGUILERA: I believe it was just a couple that she -- she wasn't -- she's not too sure if it was the shots that she heard, but she said it sounded like some bangs, you know?


AGUILERA: But she just doesn't want to comment.

BALDWIN: I won't ask any further. We're looking at pictures here of people being taken out on stretchers. So we know --

AGUILERA: Yes, they're evacuating.

BALDWIN: Right. We see dogs here. As we mentioned, the search for the suspect, maybe suspects, is on.

Let me ask you this because of sort of your perch. Tell me, are you near a window? What are you seeing?

AGUILERA: Yes, I'm looking out my window and if see S.W.A.T. cars, police cars, fire trucks. It's just the whole street is blocked off.

BALDWIN: And just tell me about the Phoenix business center. What kind of businesses are inside? AGUILERA: Well, there's mortgage companies. She actually works for a mortgage company. So I'm not too sure what other businesses are in there.

BALDWIN: OK. And from what we can tell, this entire building is on lockdown as again we see some of these units, police, law enforcement, fire, EMS crews on the scene. We're making calls to find out exactly how many people are injured, the extent of those injuries, of course, as this is a fluid situation in these sorts of scenarios.

Carol Aguilera, stay close in touch with us, please. We'd love to make sure that your daughter-in-law is A-OK once hopefully they're able to get everyone out of the building. Thank you so much for calling in.

Another developing story for you today. This battle underway on Capitol Hill over guns. You will hear Gabrielle Giffords and her emotional statement before lawmakers and the NRA.


BALDWIN: We've heard all about it on air, online, but today the national debate over gun control is happening where it really counts, on Capitol Hill. The first congressional hearing on the issue ever since December's Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre started this morning. Look at these people. Look at this line. Lines of people on both sides of the issue, wanting and waiting to get in. Gun control advocates started with the person who struggled to speak, spoke really just as powerfully as her words. Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the target of a mass shooting two years ago this month.


GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN: Thank you for inviting me here today. This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you.


BALDWIN: Incredible how far she's come in those two years. And there's her husband, Mark Kelly. He testified as well. Among those speaking out against this assault weapons ban was Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXEC. V.P., NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: We need to be honest about what works and what does not work. Proposals that would only serve to burden the law abiding have failed in the past, and they'll fail again in the future. Semi-automatic firearm technology has been around for 100 years. They're the most popular guns for hunting, target shooting, self-defense. Despite this fact, Congress banned the manufacture and sale of hundreds of semi-automatic firearms and magazines from '94 to 2004. In independent studies, including one from the Clinton Justice Department, proved that it had no impact on lowering crime. And when it comes to background checks, let's be honest, background checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them.

There are a lot of things that can be done and we ask you to join with us. The NRA is made up of millions of Americans who support what works. The immediate protection of all, not just some of our schoolchildren, is what's need, and swift, certain punishment of criminals who misuse guns and fixing our mental health system.


BALDWIN: LaPierre has been arguing for gun rights for a very long time and he was around for the first nationwide assault weapons ban, which expired eight years ago. We have tape, actually, back from the early 1990s of him and Senator Dianne Feinstein, who introduced a proposal for a new ban on specific guns and large capacity magazines. Listen and you will see how this gun debate hasn't actually change too much after two decades.


LAPIERRE (December 9, 1003): If you politicians would only stop talking about more taxes and more gun bans and more regulations on honest people, and spend a little bit of that rhetoric and a little bit of that energy going after violent criminals of complete breakdown of our criminal justice system and the fact we don't even prosecute criminals with guns anymore because the system has collapsed, maybe then we would make progress.



SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA (1994): We've also, at some point, have got to say, enough is enough. Otherwise, I mean the NRA will not say that you should not permit the civilian sale of bazookas. What we're talking about is a weapon crafted for war that floats around the streets of our cities, that puts our police in a position of being outgunned by the bad guys, that has kids killing kids with them.


BALDWIN: Since the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting that left 27 dead, the NRA says 500,000 more people have joined its membership.

Anderson Cooper, don't miss this, taking on the gun violence debate tomorrow night. He'll take a good long look at both sides of the issue. We're calling it "Guns Under Fire," an "Anderson Cooper 360" town hall special tomorrow, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

Just ahead, a nightmare on the school bus. We will take you inside this hostage situation underway still involving this young child and an underground bunker. Stay right with me. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Some of the hottest stories in a flash. Roll it.

First up here, just as we get word North Korea is on the verge of another nuclear test, South Korea has achieved a major space milestone. Up it goes, putting a satellite in orbit for the very first time. Before today, South Korea tried three different times to try to get a satellite into orbit without success.


LEE JU-HO, S. KOREA EDUCATION, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY MINISTER (through translator): The rocket was successfully launched at 4:00 p.m. The satellite will separate at 540 (ph) seconds after the launch. And (INAUDIBLE) acknowledges the satellite has successfully entered the orbit.


BALDWIN: The pressure to get a satellite into space mounted after North Korea's own successful launch last month. Now U.S. officials tell CNN they are bracing for Pyongyang to conduct a nuclear test underground.

Also today, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has named William Cowan to serve as interim U.S. senator, thus replacing Senator John Kerry. Cowan is Patrick's former chief of staff. He will serve until Kerry's successor -- I should say until Kerry's successor is chosen in a June 25th special election. Kerry was confirmed yesterday as secretary of state.

And that 15-year-old Pakistani school girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban will undergo more surgery. Malala Yousufzai will receive a titanium plate to repair her shattered skull shown here. You see the big hole. And also she'll be getting a hearing device to replace her destroyed eardrum. The Taliban shot Malala in October after she was speaking out in support of girls getting an education. The surgery will be performed in Birmingham, England, where her father has now gotten a job with the Pakistani consulate.

And its stocks are taking a hit today, but that did not dampen the hype for Research In Motion's new phone. Take a good long look at it here. This is the Blackberry 10, the Z-10 as it's officially called. It came out today. It contains a new operating software that already has 70,000 apps available for it. Keep them straight, 70,000. The company enlisted some serious star power to push it.


ALICIA KEYS, SINGER: I am so excited as well. Thank you for reaching out to me. Thank you for giving me an early look at this beautiful phone. I love the new browser. It's super fast. I love the hub.


BALDWIN: Miss Alicia Keys. So just how much is riding on the phone? Research In Motion announcing it is renaming itself Blackberry.

And take a look here at what a 15-year-old showed her parents. Here you go. Two simple words on the top of it, "I'm gay." She baked the cake, complete with green frosting, served the cake to her parents. She also then gave her parents a note. This is what it read. Quote, "I hope you still love me." I mean it's hard not to love someone who baked you a cake. The coming out cake apparently worked like a charm. The teen's update on Tumbler (ph) reads, "my mom saw it and cried of happiness. I am very lucky to have such supporting parents."

She is Piers Morgan's favorite singer. She is going to the Oscars. Barbra Streisand performing at the Academy Awards for the first time in 36 years. Can you guess what tune she sang last time? '77. The theme from "A Star Is Born."

Take a look at this with me. The Dow. Watching these numbers very quickly. Looking at the Dow. Oh, just under the 14,000 mark. Getting close. Flirting with that all time high back from October of '07. Yet the economy's shrinking. Why is that? Steven Moore (ph) breaks it down, next.