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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Baseball's New Steroid Scandal; Hillary Clinton's Exit Interview; Severe Weather in the Southeast; Tornado Warnings for Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky; Build Your Own Gun

Aired January 30, 2013 - 06:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Path of destruction. We have new images just in to CNN of damage caused by severe storms in Tennessee, with tornado warnings still in effect right now. Take a look at that. Incredible.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Alex Rodriguez in the spotlight again, and not in a good way, again. He is among the baseball stars named in a new report on performance-enhancing drugs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I am so looking forward to Monday when I have no schedule.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: What will she do with herself? Hillary Clinton's last days at the State Department. She talks to CNN about her tenure and her plans for the future.

BERMAN: Intrigue.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it is a big intrigue.

Welcome back to EARLY START. Happy you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Wednesday morning, 30 minutes after the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: So, a new drug scandal has engulfed that is Major League Baseball. "The Miami New Times" says there is evidence that Major Leaguers bought human growth hormone and other substances from a clinic in south Florida. We're taking closer look now at how those drugs affect the body.

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is joining us live from Atlanta.

This is all the talk this morning. What are exactly the dangers of these drugs? ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: All right. So, let's talk about where these drugs come from and why people use them.

So, let's start with human growth hormone, which has been mentioned in the story. So, human growth hormone is something that we all naturally have. It's made basically in our pituitary glands. What it can do -- it can reduce fat and it can increase muscle mass. But some of the dangers are it can cause bone and muscle pain, diabetes and heart disease, or it can increase the chance that you're going to get those.

Now, let's talk about testosterone, which has also been mentioned in the story. So, testosterone, of course, is a hormone both men and women have it. And some people say if you take it, you get bigger, leaner, stronger, and when you have a big workout, it enhances your recovery. It makes it easier to recover.

But here are some of the dangers. It can increase the chances of getting all sorts of things from sleep apnea to heart disease. And if you're already -- if a man already has prostate cancer, it may grow that existing prostate cancer -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Like in Lance Armstrong's case.

So, is it illegal for doctors to give these drugs to athletes?

COHEN: This is where it gets tricky. So let's first talk about human growth hormone, because the FDA sort of put it in a little bit of a class of its own. It is illegal to prescribe human growth hormone for athletic performance or body building. It's on the market because some people truly need it for some very specific medical problems, but it's illegal to prescribe for body building.

But, you know, doctors get away with it, especially if you are not doing it on a large scale. You know, there's a good chance no one is going to catch up with you because again, it is a legal, -prescribable substance.

And now, let's talk about testosterone, which is even trickier. So, testosterone is also on the market for people with certain medical problems, but doctors are given a pretty wide berth as to how they can prescribe pretty much any drug. So, a doctor can prescribe it for other things. But again, if someone catches up with you, if you as a physician start prescribing it to a lot of people, authorities might start taking a look and asking you to prove that these people needed it and that you are prescribing it within what's called the standard of care, that you were doing what other doctors do.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, live in Atlanta for us -- thank you very much.

COHEN: Thanks.

BERMAN: OK. We are watching some developing news right now, weather news. A line of violent thunderstorms tearing through Tennessee and heading east right now. And this is just in to CNN: the first pictures of the damage there. I think you are looking at an 18-wheeler there simply toppled onto its side. We see roofs that have been torn off of buildings there. There were people in that building we were told. They are safe at this time.

We know one person has been killed at this point in this line of storms that has ripped through parts of the South, including in Tennessee.

Joining us live on the phone right now is John Jewell. He is director of emergency management for Wilson County in Tennessee.

And, Mr. Jewell, what kind of damage are we looking at?

JOHN JEWELL, DIR. OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, WILSON COUNTY, TN (via telephone): The damage you had in the picture of the semi-trailer is the concentrated area. We had four buildings in that area damaged, three-story commercial building damaged significantly. We made searches of the buildings and found no one at this point in time. We did have to take the driver of the truck out. But he was not injured.

BERMAN: Is the weather at this point, passed through, or is there --

JEWELL: It has -- it has abated now. Our first warnings, about 3:15 this morning, we got about 14,000 outages, power-wise, in the area, and storms tracking from the west to the east along the northern portions of the county. And there is a sporadic number of reports along that line, primarily limbs and blocked roads and things of that nature.

BERMAN: So, you said there's some isolated damage when we see the truck down and roof blown off. Have you been able to get out and search the entire area to see if perhaps there is some more widespread damage?

JEWELL: Law enforcement has made a pretty extensive search across the county, the sheriff's office and the Mt. Juliet Police Department, where you see the damage is. And I think we had a report of one family trapped in a mobile home on Dickerson Chapel Road by a tree. The tree was removed and they were able to get out of the home.

BERMAN: Have you been able to confirm at this point that it was, in fact, a tornado or tornadoes that touched down?

JEWELL: No, that's premature. We have had a couple of reports of wind speeds, one of the stations, 56 miles an hour, we had about 37 miles here in the EOC, and the weather bureau here in Wilson County for middle Tennessee, recorded about 105 miles an hour at one point. But at this point in time, it's difficult to say whether it's twisters or straight wind. That track would indicate possibly a twister, but it's too early really to tell.

BERMAN: All right. John Jewell, the director of emergency management from Wilson County in Tennessee, thanks for joining us again. We see the pictures, tractor-trailer flipped over, some roofs blown off. Mr. Jewell just told us that the damage does appear to be isolated at this point. But there are reports of at least one death in the region. So our thanks to John Jewell in Tennessee.

Moving on to other news.

So, before leaving her post as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton sat down with CNN to talk about what she has accomplished during her tenure at the State Department. Secretary Clinton says, when we consider her legacy, Americans must go back to the beginning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Remember how poorly perceived the United States was. How badly damaged our reputation was. How our leadership was in question. How the economic crisis had really shaken people's confidence in our government, our economic system, our country.

Part of my job in the very beginning was to get around the world and restore confidence in American leadership.

BERMAN: Elise Labott is in our Washington bureau this morning. Both Elise and Jill Dougherty sat down with Secretary Clinton yesterday.

And, Elise, you really pushed the secretary -- I mean, really pushed her -- on whether she will run in 2016?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: That's right, John. That's all anybody wants to know. She -- the secretary did a global town hall earlier in the day and most of the questions were about that.

Earlier in the year, she had said, you know, definitely not -- seems to be kind of giving some wiggle room. Let's take a listen to what Secretary Clinton told us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: In April, you told Wolf Blitzer for 2016, that's not in my future. But you seem to be, I don't know.

(LAUGHTER)

LABOTT: Maybe some wiggle room there. Have you decided?

CLINTON: No, no. I am so looking forward to Monday, when I have no schedule, no office to go to --

LABOTT: You know the field --

CLINTON: -- no responsibilities.

LABOTT: I'm sorry, Madam Secretary, you know the party says that the field is clear and open for you until you make your decision. Have you decided that you absolutely will not run? CLINTON: Well, I have absolutely no plans to run.

LABOTT: But look at --

(LAUGHTER)

LABOTT: You're not saying -- this is not a Shermanesque statement, I will not run. We heard this morning, all of these people asking you if you can run. There's a PAC just registered, Ready for Hillary.

CLINTON: Is there really?

LABOTT: Are you going to tell these people to stand down?

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: Well --

LABOTT: Everyone is waiting for that --

CLINTON: Right now, I am trying to finish my term as Secretary of State.

And the president and I had a good laugh the other night because I am out of politics right now. And I don't know everything I'll be doing. I'll be working on behalf of women and girls. I'll be hopefully writing and speaking.

Those are the things that I'm planning to do right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LABOTT: That's the key, John. Planning to do. No plans right now. I don't know where that falls on your Shermanesque scale of definitely will not run. But I think she left the door open.

We also spoke about women in the cabinet. Secretary said she, you know, would like to see more women, not only in the cabinet, but in the Senate, and that they have a long way to go.

And those are the kinds of things she'd like to be working on. But she's really looking forward to sleeping in on Monday morning, John.

BERMAN: Elise, it is nowhere on the Shermanesque scale. That's not even close to a denial there. But I don't want to make too much of it. But it is not at all insignificant how much her language changed on will she run in 2016.

That was a great interview. Thanks for joining us this morning, Elise.

LABOTT: Thanks.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thirty-nine minutes past the hour. It is official. In a 94-3 vote, the U.S. Senate Tuesday overwhelmingly approved President Obama's choice of John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the nomination of John Forbes Kerry of Massachusetts to be our new Secretary of State is confirmed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: So, Kerry could be sworn in for his new post as early as Friday. That is Secretary Clinton's final day at the State Department.

BERMAN: And if lawmakers in one state get their way, your grandmother will be forced to retake her road test to keep her license. A serious and contentious issue. We'll have more coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Soledad O'Brien is joining us with a look at what is ahead on "STARTING POINT."

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, "STARTING POINT": Lots happening this morning on "STARTING POINT."

Baseball stars, including Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez, under suspicion, accused of doping after a scathing new report. We're going to talk this morning to "Boston Globe" sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who's back with us, and former Maine Senator George Mitchell. You'll remember, he was the one who released the blistering Mitchell Report back in 2007, focusing on Major League Baseball. Both of them we'll talk with us about those allegations.

Plus, an amazing story of a veteran getting a successful double arm transplant after he lost four of his limbs in Iraq. We'll talk to the doctors this morning who made this all happened for him.

And "The Life of Pi". Have you read the book?

BERMAN: I haven't.

SAMBOLIN: I saw the movie.

O'BRIEN: I read the book. When you read the book, you think you could never turn this book into a movie. They were able to do it, and, of course, it's a bit of a big success. We're going to talk this morning with screenwriter David McGee, to how they were able to pull together all the elements of a man talking to a tiger on a boat.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, they did a fantastic job, I had say. Everybody who watched it, they say read the book. You are missing out so much.

O'BRIEN: The book is amazing.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK) SAMBOLIN: Don't take the kids. The kids are a little too young for that, I think.

BERMAN: Forty-four minutes after the hour right now.

President Obama turning up the pressure on Congress over immigration reform. During yesterday's speech at a Las Vegas high school, he told the crowd, the time is now. And he said if Congress doesn't act in a timely fashion, he will put up his own legislation for a vote.

White House correspondent Brianna Keilar explains what's different about the president's plan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me start of by thanking everybody at Del Sol High School for hosting this.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The movement shows this Nevada high school with the majority Latino student body to roll out the details of what Mr. Obama calls the number one legislative priority of his second term.

OBAMA: The time has come for common sense, comprehensive, immigration reform.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: The time is now.

KEILAR: Just 24 hours after a bipartisan group of senators unveiled their outline of an immigration reform bill, the president delivered a warning.

OBAMA: If Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away.

KEILAR: Mr. Obama's plan includes a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., requiring applicants undergo background checks, pay taxes and a penalty, and learn English. It would crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers.

OBAMA: It won't be a quick process, but it will be a fair process, and it will lift these individuals out of the shadows and give them a chance to earn their way to a green card and eventually to citizenship.

KEILAR: The president's plan does not outline a guest worker program nor does it tie a pathway to citizenship to tighter border security. Both part of the Senate compromise plan that Florida's Marco Rubio has helped broker.

VOICE OF SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: That issue, I think, is a bright line for most of us that are involved in this effort.

KEILAR: Appearing on Rush Limbaugh show, Rubio seemed to win him over.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, what you are doing is admirable and noteworthy. You are recognizing reality.

KEILAR: Some conservatives fear granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants may encourage more to come.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, (R) TENNESSEE: It doesn't matter if it was Clinton or if it was Reagan. What we've learned is if you grant amnesty, what do you get? More amnesty. More illegal entry. And so, what we want to make certain is we have learned those lessons.

KEILAR: Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BERMAN: And we continue to follow breaking news this morning. Severe weather slamming into Tennessee, and now, we're getting reports from Kentucky as well. Reports of tornadoes in the region. Right now, there are two tornado warnings in Alabama, one in Tennessee, three in Kentucky.

So far, one person is confirmed dead. That's according to our affiliates in Nashville. We spoke to Wilson County, Tennessee emergency management who said there was a family trapped inside a mobile home. We've looked at the pictures from there. We've seen roofs ripped off buildings. Tractor-trailers tossed around like toys. Look at that one on the side.

And school districts closing up shop for the day. As of now, one person, we're told, has been killed from this severe line of storms that is passing through the region. That line is mostly through, we are told, by people on the ground there. But again, heed the warnings, because the winds are blowing very, very fast and is moving so quickly that you will not have a lot of time to take cover. So, follow us, we will keep you up to speed on this throughout the morning.

SAMBOLIN: -- take an 18-wheeler and you toss it on its side. That's pretty powerful.

All right. Forty-eight minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date on this morning's top stories.

In a few hours, Wall Street will flirt with all-time highs. The Dow at a five-year high and within reach now the 14,000 benchmark. It's about 200 points shy of the all-time high. The S&P 500 also near a record, closing at 1,508 yesterday, less than 60 points from a record high.

And with the possibility of tighter gun laws and guns flying of the shelves, one gun store in San Diego is offering the do-it-yourself option. It will sell you all the parts you need to build your own gun as long as you pass a background check. The store says it's legal to build your own firearm as long as you don't sell it.

BERMAN: So, how old is too old to be on the road? New Hampshire lawmakers are debating a bill that would require elderly drivers to take road test before they can renew their driver's licenses. Now, some have expressed concern about age discrimination, but others say it's a legitimate public safety issue, and 85, they say, maybe a good point to restart retaking this test for drivers.

SAMBOLIN: That is an interesting talker amongst (INAUDIBLE) and their children. We're going to take a quick and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

SAMBOLIN: It is 52 minutes past the hour. We have breaking weather news right now. Tornado warnings across Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee. Indra Petersons is tracking that storm for us. What's the very latest there?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, it really starts to get more active now as we're going through this morning hours. In the beginning of the morning, most of the activity really right around Central Tennessee, you can tell we do so have these tornado warnings in effect in the region. Now, though, we're starting to see more developing across this line.

You can tell right there east of Louisville, we're starting to see a lot of these tornado warning boxes popping up and then now even all the way down through northern portions of Alabama. We are continuing to see these severe weather boxes and tornado warnings. In fact, you see one now heading right towards Huntsville.

And again, I keep mentioning this, these are very quick-moving cells. You're not going to have much time, so please take cover, but definitely be paying attention to your surroundings out there. So, once again, we'll be talking about how large this weather event is. I mean, we're talking about a good 1,600 miles, extending all the way from Michigan straight down to Louisiana.

This will remain with us all throughout the day as it stays ahead of the cold front. Now, it is going to start to slow down a little bit as it pushes through the south as it starts to lift. So, that trough will start to lift out here a little bit, and it is going to take some time for these storms to kind of kick out of here.

So, once again, we're going to be talking about the timing of this event. This is where the line is currently. As we go through the afternoon, though, we'll start to see it pushed in through Atlanta. We're going to go a little bit of daytime heating and we'll start to see these storms wrap up, which is hard to believe considering they're so strong at this hour. And then as we go through the evening hours, we're still going to be dealing with this line of severe weather. In fact, we're going to see going all the way down through the southeast.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Indra, thank you very much.

We've got some video that we want to share with you. This is a mobile home park. This is in Nashville, Tennessee. Some of the mobile homes there were destroyed. You can see some downed trees there, and, you know, firefighters on the scene right now. We imagine police officers as well, trying to see if there are any injured folks on the ground there.

We're going to continue -- oh, my goodness. Look at those pictures. This is just in credible. This is Nashville, Tennessee. I was about to go out of those pictures, but look at that. As Indra just said, this is a really fast-moving storm. So, you have to take cover, and, of course, mobile homes are very susceptible.

You know, they're not equipped to really withstand those heavy winds. So, we're going to continue to follow this developing story for you and see if, indeed, we have any injuries on the ground there as well.

BERMAN: This is a line of fast-moving storms. Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, all being hit. We heard reports of wind gusts over 105 miles an hour. At this point, one person confirmed dead. We will stay on this all morning. Stay with us, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. You're looking at live radar pictures of the southeast this morning where a line of severe thunderstorms is passing through the area. Already tornado warnings in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, we're now hearing Mississippi might be affected as well. One death confirmed as of this time.

SAMBOLIN: This is really unusual for this time of year in January. The next 12 to 18 hours, we understand, is critical. Heed the warnings, folks, because it is very, very dangerous and very fast moving.

BERMAN: We will stay on this all morning. That's all for EARLY START right now. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT" with Soledad O'Brien starts right now.