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Tornadoes Slam Southeast; Fighting Over the Pentagon Pick; Interview with Max Cleland; Senate Gun Control Debate; Police Hunt Phoenix Shooting Suspect; Teen Girl Gunned Down in Chicago; Interview with Senator Feinstein

Aired January 30, 2013 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, tornadoes, tornadoes hammering the southeast tearing down buildings and flipping cars and trucks on an interstate, at least two people are dead. Full coverage coming up.

As Congress begins a dramatic debate on gun control, a teenage girl who performed at an event tied to the presidential inauguration is shot and killed back home in Chicago.

And it was smooth sailing for John Kerry, but former Senator Chuck Hagel may have a much tougher time making it into the cabinet. We're taking a look at the battle over the president's pick to run the Pentagon.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


We begin this hour with a massive front stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, and it's throwing off deadly storms. Some areas are being hit very, very hard right now.

A tornado has slammed into a northwest Georgia town, knocking down buildings, overturning dozens of cars along an Interstate. Thermometers have been going haywire as this huge front moves eastward.

Our own Brian Todd has been tracking the destructive march.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Memphis, a powerful blast, likely a tornado, flattened these buildings and destroyed houses like this one. This was a trailer park near Nashville, hit by the same storm system overnight.

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

TODD: Throughout the South, through to the Upper Midwest, violent storms wrecked homes, severely damaged buildings. Trees were down in Alabama and a church had its steeple blown off.

By midday, the devastation moved east. In Georgia, CNN affiliate, WSB, caught this twister on camera, overturning cars and damaging homes and buildings. Tornadoes usually don't occur until springtime in the US.

What's causing this?

One storm front that's affecting much of the country. We got access to NOAA's state-of-the-art weather facility outside Washington and spoke with chief storm tracker, Jim Hoke.

(on camera): Looking at this front and what it's doing, how is it possible for it to be causing tornadoes in January?

JIM HOKE, DIRECTOR, HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER: Well, there is a huge temperature contrast between the cold temperatures over the central part of the United States and the warm temperatures in the southeastern part of the United States.

TODD: Right.

HOKE: Cold temperatures here, warm temperatures here. The front is in this area. It's the clash between those warm and cold temperatures that enable such things as tornadoes, hail and strong winds to occur.

TODD (voice-over): Along with a stark divide in temperatures from one side of the front to the other.

(on camera): Here on the eastern side of the front, it is freakishly warm. I'm comfortable without a jacket here in Washington, DC.

What are the temperatures?

I'll check out our laser thermometer. Hovering in the mid-60s.

What's it like on the other side of the front?

Let's go to our colleague, Nikki Newbrough, at affiliate KWWL in Eastern Iowa.


We're looking at completely covered roads here and five to six inches of snow just in our part of the state. Now, city officials, specifically in Waterloo, are asking people to stay off the roads unless it's an emergency.

TODD (voice-over): Jim Hoke says this system is almost as challenging to forecast as super storm Sandy was. But with Sandy, he says, the storm took longer to develop.

HOKE: The current system that we're looking at, we actually did see it seven days ago. But it really didn't become an intense system until just the last day or so.


TODD: And this system is bringing wet weather, as well. Flood warnings are being given from Michigan to Louisiana and those thunderstorms are supposed to pass through Washington, DC, really, any time now, Wolf, and bring the temperatures down extremely in this area, back to January type levels.

For now, though, we can take another reading on this laser thermometer.

Here's what it says, the low 60s right now. We can at least we can enjoy a little bit of warm weather for the next couple of hours here, Wolf. But severe everywhere else.

BLITZER: It certainly is. In the South, Brian, not all the damage was caused by the tornadoes, right?

TODD: No. Some of it, experts say, was caused by what they call straight line systems, just kind of straight bands of very strong winds that have knocked down a lot of those buildings and homes there. But still, you know, strong cells of tornadoes still whipping through that area. So it's very dangerous, even at this hour.

BLITZER: Brian Todd is on the Washington Mall.

Thank you, Brian.

Let's go to CNN's Miguel Marquez.

He's at the scene of that devastating storm damage in Adairsville, Georgia, what's, about 75 miles from Atlanta -- is that right, Miguel?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, indeed, north -- north of Atlanta. And this county has been declared a disaster area, an emergency area, by the governor, as well as an adjacent county, as well.

I want to show you, about 100 people were in this plant this morning. This was an operating plant, the Dyke (ph) plant here in Adairsville. There were maybe 100 people in there putting together parts for tractor-trailers.

Amazingly enough, everybody survived there. The devastation in this one area here is incredible. The cars here on the road, you can see, they were tossed around and crushed. There are also a lot of tractor-trailers that have been overturned in this area.

And what's happening right now is that Georgia Power has come in here, because if you actually look at my feet, there's -- there are power lines down throughout this entire area. And so the power has been cut to many of the homes here. They're now in this area, getting the power back up. And it is going to be a very, very cold night, it seems, because the temperature has come down 15, maybe 20 degrees at this point.

So it's a pretty miserable night here north of Atlanta, Georgia -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, we'll check back with you and see where we go from here.

Miguel Marquez on the scene for us in Adairsville, Georgia.

So where are these storms headed and will this incredible intensity continue?

Let's turn to our severe weather expert, Chad Myers.

What's going on -- here, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, ATS METEOROLOGIST: You know, some of the storms are coming right toward you in the next couple of hours, into DC, into Richmond, into Roanoke, all of the Mid-Atlantic States.

What's is going on, Wolf, is a big dip in the jet stream. It's coming out of the Southwest and it's running right up through the Northeast, just like that. Just like this little -- the words going right up through Chicago.

It is 57 in Atlanta, 77 in Miami, but 10 below in Minot. And that's the clash of the temperatures that -- the package that -- that Brian Todd just put together was so eloquently talking about.

When you get cold and warm that come together like this, something has to break. And when that happens, you get severe weather expert.

And I must have had 100 people today ask me, isn't this weird, we get tornadoes in January?

And the answer is, no, not really. Last year, we had 75 tornadoes in January. But the tornadoes in January are in the south. And then by February and March, they get up a little bit farther to the north. They follow the jet stream to the north.

By spring, March, April, May, when you expect them, they are all the way through the Midwest, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska. And that is Tornado Alley right through there.

And then by June and July, some of these storms, these tornadoes, are up here. And by August, I've seen tornadoes in Edmonton and into Alberta. So that's how it follows the jet stream. Follow the money, they say. But if you follow the jet stream, you can certainly follow the tornadoes, as well.

This is an interesting map showing, from Tuesday into today, temperatures in Topeka have now gone down 37 degrees. And Miguel said that the temperatures went down 20 in where he was, just north of Atlanta. This morning, up 18 compared to 24 hours ago. And now temperatures are falling rapidly again. It's the jet bringing down the cold air, compared to last week, bringing up the cold air -- bringing up the warm air, as well, all the way into the West.

Remember, this was -- we were talking about four below zero wind chill factors in New York City a couple of days ago and now we're almost 65 degrees today up there.

BLITZER: Yes, a similar kind of situation here in Washington, DC, as well.


BLITZER: Is there any way to tell whether this kind of roller coaster ride of extremes is going to continue all winter long -- Chad?

MYERS: Well, it's going to continue the next 15 days because that's how long our computers go. It's one wave after the other. It just -- the wave goes up. It's called a ridge. And you warm up. The wave comes down. It comes down and it's called a trough, like a trough where you put cattle feed. And then back to the other side of the ridge.

And these -- this trough ridge trough just moves across the country. It just depends on what side of the jet you're on. You're going to be on the warm side or the cold side. And it changes every five days.

So, yes, it's going to continue all winter long.

BLITZER: We'll be riding the roller coaster together with a lot of folks.


BLITZER: Thanks very much, Chad, for that report.

And, by the way, to get all the latest storm tracking or send us your weather-related iReports, please be sure to click onto

So the battle lines are now drawn over the president's pick to head the Pentagon -- why Chuck Hagel is facing bitter opposition. And now he's fighting back.

And the maker of BlackBerry goes all-out with new smartphones, a new operating system and a new name.

But is it enough to survive?


BLITZER: John Kerry had no trouble sailing through the Senate confirmation process, but President Obama's pick for Defense secretary is facing a much tougher road.

The former senator, Chuck Hagel, is battling opposition on several fronts, including new attacks on his voting record against Iran sanctions.

CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, takes a closer look at the nomination.


CHUCK HAGEL (R-NB), FORMER SENATOR: Thank you, Mr. President.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even as President Obama nominated Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon, opponents launched an unprecedented effort that sounds a lot like an election campaign.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama, for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel is not a responsible option.


STARR: The conservative advocacy group American Future Fund putting up big money.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hagel accepted gold-plated grips from lobbyist and campaign cash from banking interests he was supposed to be regulating.


STEWART ROY, AMERICAN FUTURE FUND: We're running over half a million dollars worth of ads nationwide to further communicate about Chuck Hagel.

STARR: Hagel aides say the senator has always obeyed ethics rules. This tough Vietnam combat veteran and a small group of eight are part of the counterattack machine, making his case to more than 50 senators.

(on camera): Can we just ask you how it's going?

HAGEL: It's going well.

Thank you.

Appreciate it.

STARR: Due to security concerns, I can't show you the exact room, but here in this very nondescript Pentagon hallway, Chuck Hagel has an office where he's been getting ready for what may be contentious confirmation hearings. And it is from here that the strategy for confirmation has taken shape. GEORGE LITTLE, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We joke that this is the Hagel war room. And we are doing rapid response as issues come in. And that's what you'd expect in this confirmation process.

STARR (voice-over): It's all high stakes. Obama's senior aide, Valerie Jarrett, moved in quickly when gay rights groups opposed Hagel over his 1990 comments calling an ambassador nominee, quote, "openly, aggressively gay."

FRED SAINZ, V.P. HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: You know, as a measure of our progress as a nation, and specifically as a community of LGBT individuals, within 24 hours, Senator Hagel had issued an apology.

STARR: On Hagel's support for Israel, critics continue to say Hagel is soft.

So the Hagel war room got an endorsement from New York Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer, a prominent pro-Israeli voice.

But Sheldon Adelson, the Republican mega donor, and his wife, who gave tens of millions of dollars to a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, says not so fast.

As a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, he's calling GOP senators to urge a no vote on Hagel. This potential campaign cash not easily forgotten.

(on-camera): One senator who hasn't announced how he'll vote is Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, a long-time friend of Chuck Hagel's. The two men fell out over there's disagreements about the Iraq war. But if McCain votes for Hagel, and that is not certain, if he does, the opponents of Chuck Hagel may have a much tougher case to make.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: One of Chuck Hagel's leading supporters is also a former senator, a fellow Vietnam veteran, Max Cleland, of Georgia is joining us here in the SITUATION ROOM. Senator, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: You're going to be in the front row right behind Chuck Hagel tomorrow. You strongly support him. I know he's been a close friend of yours. Listen to Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, on the Senate floor today why he opposes this nomination.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN, (R) MINORITY WHIP: The nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense has already done damage to the United States' credibility in its attempt to deny Iran a nuclear weapon, thus, emboldening one of the most dangerous regimes in the Middle East. To limit that damage, President Obama should choose someone else to lead the Pentagon.


BLITZER: All right. Senator Cleland, you want to respond to Sen. Cornyn?

CLELAND: I just think this anti-Hagel effort is smoke in mirrors. It really obscures the fact that after ten years of war and people who have been deployed overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan five and six and seven different times, ten years of war, really, we need a man like Chuck Hagel who's been to war, who knows war, who's been wounded, gotten a few holes in his T-shirt, still carries the shrapnel from that experience from Vietnam a generation ago with him.

He is exactly the kind of guy we need in the Pentagon now. I want somebody in there who knows about war, to help keep us out of war, but if we get in war, win and win quickly.

BLITZER: Senator McCain knows a lot about war. He was a P.O.W. in Vietnam as you well remember. When I spoke with him yesterday, he hasn't made up his mind yet. Speak to Senator McCain. Tell him why he should vote to confirm Chuck Hagel.

CLELAND: First of all, Chuck Hagel is your brother, John. You know, me, John, John Kerry, you, we all suffered the same fate pretty much in the same war. And I don't see John turning his back on his brother.

BLITZER: You think he'll vote to confirm him?

CLELAND: I do. Either that or be absent. I don't see John really being absent. I think McCain is holding his powder -- keeping his powder dry, pending the hearings. I think a lot of the members of the Senate are keeping the power dry pending the hearings, and then, they will vote to confirm Chuck Hagel and should.

BLITZER: Because some of these votes, for example, on Iran's sanctions, he voted against those kinds of -- you were a senator for a long time. You know how tough it is to vote on these kinds of sensitive issues. He was in the minority.

CLELAND: Well, here's the deal. You can attack anybody on anything if you've been in the Senate long enough. Now, my view is, this man has been to war and he's the best to look after those who have been to war. And secondly, we don't choose a secretary of defense or shouldn't choose a secretary of defense by 30 and 60-second character assassination ads.

That's not the way we do it. We do it when the president nominates and a Senate advises and consents to that nomination. That process will go forward tomorrow. And after the hearings tomorrow which I am pleased to attend, then I think the Senate will confirm Chuck Hagel.

BLITZER: Because he'll be asked all these tough questions.

CLELAND: Absolutely.

BLITZER: He's been asked a lot of them and Chuck Schumer in a private meeting with him, he was skeptical, but he came out and endorsed him.

CLELAND: May I say that's highly appropriate. That's where you do it. You do it in that committee hearing room. You do it publicly. You give Chuck Hagel a chance to say something about it. Up until now, Chuck has been sequestered and not been able to talk in his own defense.

BLITZER: Have you spoken to him?

CLELAND: I have not, not since three or four weeks ago. I've been out there for him, because he's my brother and friend and he's the right guy for the job certainly now with young Americans that need to come home from Afghanistan and be taken care of by a secretary of defense who's been to war, who helps us stay out of war, but if we get in war, win and win quickly, and that's Chuck Hagel.

BLITZER: Speaking of young Americans who've been to war and have come home, like you, a 26-year-old Iraq war veteran, Brendan Marrocco. He has gone unbelievable surgery, unbelievable transplants. Listen to his because he came home without any limbs from Iraq. Watch this.


BRENDAN MARROCCO, DOUBLE ARM TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT: I don't even realize it anymore. I've been using arms to -- or the hands to text and use my computer and scratch my face and do my hair. It's just that they've truly become part of my every day life. It's given me a lot of hope for the future. I feel like I'm getting a second chance.


BLITZER: It's a rare double arm transplant. You see that as someone who's gone through a lot and we all know what you've gone through. What goes through your mind?

CLELAND: Thank God for that young man and young people willing to defend this country, and Chuck Hagel was one of those. That young man gives me inspiration so does Chuck.

BLITZER: It really is amazing the optimism that he has right now.


BLITZER: He's gone through what he's gone through.

CLELAND: Thank God for it.

BLITZER: You were skeptical about the whole war in Iraq, weren't you?

CLELAND: Oh, yes. And Chuck was and John Kerry was, ultimately. We voted for the resolution because there was a sense that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. We were actually told that. And we thought that. But it was not true. It was fraudulent. So, we need somebody like Hagel in there who you can't fool or something like that.

That he will be much more cautious next time and giving the best advice of president of the United States on how to use the American military to stay out of war. But if we get in war, win and win quickly, that's what we need.

BLITZER: All right. Give us one final thought to those returning veterans, amputees, the wounded warriors who are coming back. What advice do you have for them as someone who knows what they're going through?

CLELAND: We love you, we appreciate you. Not only do we thank you for your service, but we're going to take care of you as best we possibly can. I'm glad you made it back home. Welcome home.

BLITZER: Senator Cleland, we're glad you're here as well. Thanks.

CLELAND: Thank you.

BLITZER: You're always welcome here in the SITUATION ROOM.

CLELAND: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks for your service to our country.

CLELAND: Thank you.

BLITZER: A dramatic debate on Capitol Hill feats the head of the National Riffle Association against leading gun control advocate, Senator Dianne Feinstein. She's standing by. She'll join us live right here in the SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: A bit of a slip on Wall Street today. Our Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM right now. Lisa, what's the latest?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Well, the Dow and S&P announced that all closed down less than one percent on news from the Federal Reserve that economic growth had paused (ph). But stocks still remain near all-time high. The Dow is now less than two percentage points away from its record high of more than 14,000 points back in October of 2007.

And one of the owners of the Brazilian club where 235 people died has attempted suicide. Police say that attempt took place while he and the other owners, seen here, were in custody. Authorities say that owner is, in their words, emotionally destroyed. His lawyer said the fire department shares some of the blame for the casualty count saying "they weren't wearing proper masks and lacked proper equipment."

And take a look at this amazing video. Strong winds in Texas blowing tumbleweeds. Look at that video. They're everywhere. The driver of this truck, you see there, literally had to plow through them to pass. This video was posted on Facebook. You know what, that looks like something straight out of a movie. It doesn't look real. It looks like something they cued up on a set, but it is.

BLITZER: Looks very real. Yes.


BLITZER: Pretty amazing. Thank you.

You know, with the Dow Jones at 14,000 approaching, remember, it went -- that was in October 2007, it reached 14,000 but then, by 2009, the first year of the Obama administration and the collapse, it was down to below 7,000 it, and now it's come back. It's doubled over these past four years.

SYLVESTER: And you know what people were saying back then, too, in 2009? Everyone was saying leave your money in, leave your money in. Don't take your money out. Don't take your money out when it's down. The Dow is going to come back, and sure enough the markets have rallied. They've come back. And now, believe it or not, we're almost at the record high.

And remember, the conversations back then, back in 2007, was Dow 15,000, and now, you're hearing some of those same conversations as well, Wolf.

BLITZER: Just be careful (INAUDIBLE)

SYLVESTER: That's right.

BLITZER: Thank you.

As Congress begins a dramatic debate on gun control, a teenage girl who performed during an event tied to the presidential inauguration is shot and killed back home in Chicago.


BLITZER: Fireworks on Capitol Hill over gun violence and it started with a very powerful appearance from the former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was severely injured in a 2011 Tucson shooting. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing brought together two longtime gun control rivals, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who's just proposed sweeping legislation, banning military- style assault weapons, and the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre.

Watch this polite little exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I want to thank everybody for being here, particularly our witnesses, even you, Mr. LaPierre. It's good to see you again. I guess we tangled --


FEINSTEIN: We tangled -- when was it? Eighteen years ago? You look pretty good, actually.



BLITZER: Both indeed have been making their respective cases in this gun debate for many, many years. As you can see, by the way, in this vintage CNN video, this from a long time ago.

Senator Feinstein is joining us now from Capitol Hill.

Senator, thanks very much for coming in.

FEINSTEIN: You're welcome, Wolf.

BLITZER: In all seriousness, you've been through this debate for 18 years. What's different now?

FEINSTEIN: Well, what is different now is that the weapons have increased in firepower, in velocity, in kill power. The technology has changed so that there are mechanisms that you could put into a semiautomatic rifle, like a Bushmaster or AK-47 that makes it essentially act like an automatic weapon and in a minute you can fire, you know, 400, 500 bullets.

It's a real problem out there. And these weapons tear people's bodies apart and that's what happened to the children. And every one of these, school after school, mall after mall, when is it going to end? We look like such a barbaric country. We can't even protect our own people. So my view is that weapons that are designed for war don't belong on the streets.

And so we have tried to prepare a bill which essentially exempts over 2,000, 200 weapons, outlaws 185. Sets up a one physical characteristic test for an assault weapon, requires a background test when that assault weapon is transferred or sold.

I hope we can get it through.

BLITZER: All right.

FEINSTEIN: It's very hard.

BLITZER: I want to get to the politics in a moment and --


BLITZER: A likely vote in the Senate and the House. But you were on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley on Sunday and you said this.


FEINSTEIN: The NRA is venal. They come after you. They put together large amounts of money to defeat you. They did this in '93 and they intend to continue it.


BLITZER: I just want you to elaborate and what you mean by venal.

FEINSTEIN: Well, what I mean by venal is just that. They raise money if you vote against them to defeat you. And particularly with members of the House. They have been successful. Jack Brooks, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Tom Foley, at the time the speaker, both were defeated.

Now the NRA has been raising a lot of money from gun companies now. Gun companies are supporting this. The NRA is encouraging programs that give these weapons to youngsters as young as 8 and 9 years old.

I've got to wonder what's happening to this country. So every single poll shows that a dominant majority of Americans want to ban military-style assault weapons. Every single poll shows that. The question is, will America stand up and will America take this case to the Midwest, to the south where it is very difficult to obtain a vote?

BLITZER: Listen to Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, at the hearing this morning.


LAPIERRE: Unfortunately, we've seen a dramatic collapse in federal gun prosecutions in recent years. Overall, in 2011, federal firearms prosecutions per capita were down 35 percent from their peak in the previous administration. That means violent felons, violent gang members and drug dealers with guns and the mentally ill possess firearms are not being prosecuted.


BLITZER: Does he have a point there?

FEINSTEIN: Well, he may. I don't really know about that. But we will look at it. I do know this. That a violent felon can buy a gun at a gun show, no questions asked, even if it is a 50-caliber sniper rifle, an AK-47, a sophisticated Bushmaster. He can buy it.

I do know that you can buy any amount of ammunition on the Internet. I do know that clips, high-capacity magazines, are cheap and easily available. So anybody can put together any kind of an arsenal they want. Criminal, terrorists, he's right about that.

Now, the question comes, what kind of gun laws will the National Rifle Association support? In the time I was at the hearing, this question was more or less asked of Mr. LaPierre and he did not answer it. Essentially, they believe that you don't need to do anything, just enforce laws. The Brady gun checks, for example -- database, a product of the Tiahrt legislation, the next day you have to dissolve it. So the NRA has been very artful in moving forward to really --

BLITZER: Senator --

FEINSTEIN: -- put opposition to enforcement at the same time they're complaining about it.

BLITZER: It's not just the NRA. But you've got some problems with some prominent Senate Democrats as well. I know that Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has a different perspective than you do and maybe even the Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

Do you have these senators, these Democratic senators, on board?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I can tell you that Patrick Leahy voted for the bill in 1994. I can't comment on Senator Reid. Look, everybody says, do you have every vote? The answer is no. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

Look, what happened in Connecticut at Sandy Hook, the ripping apart of bodies of 5 and 6-year-olds. A mother who gave her son a gun when that son shouldn't have been anywhere near a gun, shows the falsity of the situation that we live in now. We've got to change that and we've got to protect our schools. You can't just protect them with guards. I have no problem with guards.

There was a deputy sheriff armed at Columbine. He couldn't hit the sniper or the shooter that was in that school. So we have to keep these weapons, which are military weapons, out of the hands of gang bangers, of mental incompetents, of people who would use them for bad purposes.

BLITZER: Senator Feinstein, I know that you feel very passionately on this issue.


BLITZER: We'll see what happens in the weeks to come. Appreciate your joining us.

FEINSTEIN: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Our own Anderson Cooper is taking a close look at both sides of the gun debate in a town hall special, "GUNS UNDER FIRE." That's tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

She performed at an event tied to the inauguration here in Washington, D.C. Now just a few days later a teenage honor student is shot dead after taking a final exam back home in Chicago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: A developing situation in Arizona where police are searching for a suspect in a multiple shooting in an office.

Let's go live to CNN's Casey Wian. He's in the scene for us in Phoenix. What happened, Casey?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now, Wolf, early this morning here in Phoenix, at this office building, a man walked into the building and shot three people. According to police, this was a location he was targeting. It was not random. There was a heavy, immediate police response. Dozens and dozens of police officers in this area and at multiple locations throughout Phoenix.

They were also searching for the suspect in several vehicles that they were looking for. So far that suspect still remains at large. Here's what one representative of the police department had to say to us just a little while ago.


SGT. TOMMY THOMPSON, PHOENIX POLICE: What we know at this point is a man described as a white male, possibly older, went into an office, got into some type of an altercation and he shot three individuals. One of those people was transported in extremely critical condition. The other two people were transported with nonlife threatening injuries.


WIAN: Now we do know the identity of one of those shooting victims. He is Mark Humels, who is an attorney. According to his law firm, he was involved in a client mediation at the time of the shooting. The law firm would not say anything else. We do not know if that mediation had anything to do with the possible motive.

We also should mention, Wolf, that the first time many people heard about this shooting was earlier today when Mark Kelly, of course, Gabrielle Giffords' husband, mentioned the shooting at a hearing in Washington, D.C. -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Casey Wian, on the scene for us. We'll get more information from you, I'm sure. Thank you.

From Arizona to Chicago now where the stories of deadly gun violence seem to be endless. One of the latest victims? A teenage girl who was just here in Washington celebrating President Obama's inauguration.

CNN's Ted Rowlands is joining us now with details.

What a sad, sad story this is, Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf. It is another just unbelievably heartbreaking story of a child's life cut short because of the gun violence here in Chicago.


ROWLANDS (voice-over): She was one of those kids that always seemed to have a smile on her face, which you can see in this YouTube video. That's how friends are describing 15-year-old, Hadiya Pendleton, the latest innocent victim of gun violence in the city of Chicago.

Hadiya had just returned from the inauguration in Washington where she performed with her high school majorette team. Jada Akins is the girl next to Hadiya in this team photo.

JADA AKINS, FRIEND: It was a good trip. I got (INAUDIBLE). And she was real happy on the trip. It was a nice (INAUDIBLE). She smiled all the time. She would never frown. She was never mad, she was never sad.

ROWLANDS: On Tuesday afternoon, Hadiya had just finished a final exam and was with a group of friends avoiding the rain under this parked shelter. Witnesses say a gunman came out from behind this fence and started shooting. The park, where she was killed, is one mile from President Obama's home in Chicago.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president and first lady's thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hadiya Pendleton. All of our thoughts and prayers are with her family. And as the president has said, we will never be able to eradicate every act of evil in this country but we -- but if we can save even one child's life, we have an obligation to try when it comes to this scourge of gun violence.

ROWLANDS: Illinois Senator Dick Durbin also brought up Hadiya's murder during a gun hearing on Capitol Hill, talking about her trip to Washington.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: It was the highlight of her 15- year-old life. Yesterday in a rain storm after school she raced to a shelter. A gunman came in and shot her dead. Just a matter of days after the happiest day of her life, she's gone.

ROWLANDS: It's been a deadly start to 2013 in Chicago. Hadiya is the 42nd murder victim already this year. Five hundred and six people were killed here in 2012.

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: She is what is best in our city. A child going to school, who takes a final exam, who had just been to the inaugural -- we have a responsibility to see a stop to this and all of us are responsible.

ROWLANDS: At King College Prep High School, students spent the day with their parents and grief counselors, talking about about Hadiya and her wonderful smile.

GAIL AKINS, JADA'S MOTHER: It's too much. Every other day you're hearing student and killings and now what's happening is more parents are burying their children. It needs to stop.


ROWLANDS: And, Wolf, sadly like is the case in many of these shootings, police have not made an arrest. They are hoping a witness will come forward with some information so they can solve Hadiya's murder.

BLITZER: I hope they do. What a heartbreaking story indeed.

Ted, thanks for that report.

When we come back, a very different story. A new BlackBerry has just been unveiled. Up next, why it could be a make-or-break moment for the future of a once very powerful company.


BLITZER: Could be a make-or-break moment for the once very powerful BlackBerry giant, Research In Motion, or RIM, which today is not only unveiling the long-awaited new BlackBerry 10, it's also making BlackBerry its official company name.

Here's CNN's chief business correspondent, Ali Velshi.



ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No buttons may not be news to you, but it's big news for BlackBerry users. Many of whom won't know what to make of the Z10. Canada's Research In Motion is counting on this totally virtual phone to allow it to live to fight another day. After a yearlong delay and years of neglecting the onslaught by Apple and Android-based phones, RIM finally unveiled its new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system and the first phone to run it.

As a longtime BlackBerry user and hard keyboard lover, I've been evaluating the new phone in real world conditions. I'm a heavy user and a champion thumb typist. Being new to the virtual keyboard world, my e-mail output has been cut in half while I got used to it. But the company says the keyboard is easier to use and more intuitive than its virtual competitors.

GADWAY: Select it just by flicking it --

VELSHI: The piece de resistance with the keyboard is that it grabs words from your device and names from your contact and predicts in a very customized way what you're likely to type, allowing you to compose entire sentences just by flicking the complete words, which appear on the keyboard, up toward the screen. All of it can be done with one hand.

GADWAY: All right. Let me try something.

VELSHI: For those users for whom a virtual keyboard is still a nonstarter, you'll have to wait until April for a model with a hard keyboard. Built on a brand-new operating system, not a single line of code is copied from BlackBerry's existing platform. Battery life isn't great, but unlike iPhone and many Android phones, you could still change a dead BlackBerry battery.

(On camera): Here's an interesting feature for those of you who use a corporate BlackBerry with strict company rules but who also carry a separate phone for your personal use. The BlackBerry 10 uses something called Balance, which basically allows the device to be strictly split, so that the corporate side of it can adhere to the company's rules, say, no photos or personal e-mails, while on the other side of the split personality, you can do all of your personal business.

GADWAY: These are secure. The information in them is secure. So I can't take anything out of the work space, into my personal side. Similarly, when I'm on the personal side, as an end user, I can remain confident that none of the tweets that I'm sending, the pictures that I'm sharing are things that my employer can have access to. So it's really and truly a dual persona device.

VELSHI (voice-over): The two sides of the device, if you will, never cross each other. Keep in mind, though, your company has to authorize and enable this feature.

(On camera): Research In Motion's ultra-secure, ultra-efficient, back-office systems allowed them to dominate the corporate world. Increasingly, though, companies are letting people choose what device they use. Back in 2009, 20 percent of all smartphones globally were BlackBerries. Today, it's just 6 percent. The stock is down more than 80 percent in five years. The question is whether this phone can change all of that. It will be released in UK this week, in Canada in February, and in the United States by the end of March.

Ali Velshi, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: I'm ready to check out that new BlackBerry 10, see how it is.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' powerful plea to Congress to help end gun violence in this country. Her husband, Mark Kelly, was at her side. My interview with him, just ahead.


BLITZER: From secretary of state to comedian, Henry Kissinger wowed the crowd at an exclusive off-the-record Washington dinner the other night. No recordings were allowed, but "Politico" got a copy of his funny speech and CNN's Tom Foreman is here with a closer look.

Very funny, indeed.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. This happened at the Alfalfa Club. This is a 100-year-old club here in D.C. that's made up of all sorts of movers and shakers in politics and business. And every year, even when you don't have a presidential race, they select a presidential candidate. And this year, it was the former secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, the Nobel Laureate, who's born in 1923. He's almost 90 years old.

Here's the thing, though. It's a very secret thing. We can't get any video of his speech that just brought the house down so we did the next best thing. We reached out to Paul Sorvino this afternoon. Yes, it's Paulie from "Goodfellas", because he played Kissinger in the 1995 film "Nixon" and we had him read all of Kissinger's best lines for us.

So here's the first one. Here's Kissinger in the nomination -- on the nomination itself.


PAUL SORVINO, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: I accept the nomination for president of the Alfalfa Party at this celebration of its hundredth anniversary. Its program, I am proud to say, has not changed in the hundred years of its existence. Much like the Republican platform.


FOREMAN: Not bad. He sounds a lot like Kissinger. Here's the next one. Here's what Kissinger had to say on advice.


SORVINO: In my six decades of public service, I have given advice to 10 presidents. Some of them even asked for it.



FOREMAN: Moving on, this is Kissinger on the issues.


SORVINO: I pride myself from being able to see both sides of every issue. So let me candidly assess both my assets and my other assets.



FOREMAN: By this time, the place was absolutely coming apart. Here's Kissinger on foreign affairs.


SORVINO: People ask me what it was like meeting Brezhnev or Zhou Enlai. There is, indeed, a lot of pressure when historical figures encounter each other. So, yes, they were a little nervous. (END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: And here's our last one. This is Kissinger on negotiating.


SORVINO: I have seen negotiations go on until talks broke down. When Joe Biden is your opposite number, talks go on until you break down.



FOREMAN: So our thanks to the great actor, Paul Sorvino, who joined us to do this, playing the part of Henry Kissinger. It was a huge, huge success.

And Wolf, I will point this out, even though Henry Kissinger is almost 90, he can still work a crowd, and this nomination may have some legs. Former nominees from the Alfalfa Clubs, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

BLITZER: He is a very, very funny guy. Henry Kissinger, almost 90 years old. He's got a great, great sense of humor.

And Tom Foreman, thanks to you, you've got a great sense of humor as well, and Paul Sorvino for helping us appreciate a little levity here in THE SITUATION ROOM.