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Police Believe Dorner is Dead; State of the Union Address; Pope's Last Ash Wednesday Mass; Crippled Cruise Ship Being Towed to Mobile; Obama: Priority No. 1 is New Jobs

Aired February 13, 2013 - 05:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Dramatic moment caught on tape as police cornered fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner. New this morning, policy say charred remains have been found in a burned out cabin.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATESD: The American people don't expect government to solve every problem. They don't expect us to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation's interests before party.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama urging compromise, some at least, as he lays out his vision in his State of the Union address. But will Republicans buy it?

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Cruise from hell. More details on board that Carnival cruise ship. I know, Can I say that? Slowly limping its way back to Alabama. Passengers report flooding in some rooms and there is sewage in the hallways.

I'm sorry to be sharing those details at this hour of the morning.

Good morning to you. Welcome to a special edition of EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin in New York.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman, along with Soledad O'Brien here in Washington, D.C.

O'BRIEN: Good morning, everybody. Lots to get to this morning as we hit 5:00 here in Washington, D.C.

Just a few hours ago really, it was President Obama who was challenging Congress to act. It was his State of the Union address that was a response to from Senator Marco Rubio. The response very interesting, but it's what he did during the response that has a lot of people talking this morning.

Lots to get to, as well.

BERMAN: First, there is another major developing story going on right now. Dramatic developments overnight in the manhunt for Christopher Dorner. Police now saying they have found charred remains in that burned out cabin after a shoot-out in that cabin near Big Bear Lake, California.

Dorner allegedly shot two more officers, killing one of them before barricading himself in the woods. His 10-day reign of really terrorizing people apparently ending when a SWAT team detonated a smoke device inside that cabin and set it on fire.

We still do not have positive confirmation of Dorner's death even though they are now saying they have found charred remains. Cops spent nearly a week frantically searching Big Bear.

Kyung Lah tells how they finally cornered the suspect.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have shots fired, four to five shots fired.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A hail of bullets, police radio captured the moment.

A cabin burning to the ground, and fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner believed inside.

After six days of combing through Big Bear, the first Dorner report came midday. "The L.A. Times" reports two maids cleaning a home were tied up. Their car stolen.

The first law enforcement to spot the suspect in the stolen car were two Fish and Wildlife officers.

PATRICK FOY, CALIFORNIA FISH AND WILDLIFE: First was a purple Nissan which he ultimately appeared to have been driving too fast, lost control of the vehicle, crashed it. Carjacked the second white pickup, and then was fleeing the scene which is when our warden noticed him. They were so close that he recognized his face.

LAH: Suspected cop killer Christopher Dorner. The suspect opened fire, 15 shots, hitting the patrol car, narrowly missing the officers. They chased the truck to this cabin. As they began their approach, the man inside opened fire.


LAH: The gun fight captured by a local news reporter's cell phone.


LAH: Radio calls from the officers.

Then the heart sinking call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer down, officer down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Copy. We have an officer down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medic ship (ph) in the air, medic in the air. Another officer down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another officer down.

SHERIFF JOHN MCMAHON, SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY: One of our deputies was injured. He's being treated here at Loma Linda. And unfortunately, one of our deputies passed away as a result of his injuries.

JODI MILLER, SHERIFF SPOKESMAN: All law enforcement agencies is a brotherhood. So this is a very difficult day for law enforcement.

LAH: Law enforcement closed down all roads in and out, searching cars leaving the mountain.

Back at the cabin, officers saw no one leave.

Then this --

CINDY BACHMAN, SHERIFF'S SPOKESWOMEN: The person that barricaded himself inside the cabin and engaged in gunfire with our deputies and other law enforcement officers is still inside there.

LAH: The cabin burned to the ground. The suspect believed still inside.

San Bernardino sheriff's department confident enough to drop the road blocks even as they wait for DNA identification. The LAPD's largest manhunt has come to an end.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


O'BRIEN: And lots of new details to get to this morning about just how the officers were able to finally track down Dorner.

Let's get right to Paul Vercammen. He's in Big Bear this morning.

So, cops were combing the area we know for about a week, but it did seem like they were removing some of their resources, lots of rumors that maybe the suspect had fled to Mexico. Give me a sense of how this came to be the last hours of this manhunt.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the big break comes when Dorner is a residence. He ties up two maids and he steals their car. Then, some Fish and Wildlife officers see him doing something absolutely audacious. He's tailing two school buses literally on the bumper almost of one of the buses, and he's using the buses for cover.

So then, it's Fish and Wildlife who get involved. They radio ahead, get other officers aware of where Dorner is going. He steals another car, the pickup truck, and eventually winds up at that cabin, Soledad, where the shoot-out occurred.

Let's hear more about the cabin. A big factor up here in Big Bear because many cabins were unoccupied, they always feared he might try to hole up or had been holed up in one of them. Let's take a listen.


KYLE MARTIN, CABIN OWNER (via telephone): Exactly more than one cabin. It's actually got five smaller cabins. And she -- my mother rents them out. No ammunition or firearms that I know of. It also has a basement, though. So --

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: How big a basement?

MARTIN: Probably about 800 square foot.


VERCAMMEN: And it's that cabin where we understand the lethal fugitive finally met his end, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: So, Paul, we've been running clips of this gunfire which comes I know from one of our former colleagues who was literally almost caught in the crossfire when the suspect started shooting at the officers who had approached him. Tell us about that.

VERCAMMEN: Well, somewhere in all the chaos crisscrossing the hill tonight, I did run into Carter Evans and I asked him how he was and he just short of shook his head in disbelief and said, thank goodness it wasn't worth. What he told me was that at one point, he got under his crew car and the shots were whizzing by his head. He also said to me, Soledad, that he thinks if he had been about 10 feet up the road, he or the car would have been hit, presumably shot.

O'BRIEN: Wow. Paul Vercammen for us -- thanks for the update as we get this latest breaking news from the story that we've been watching now for 10 days -- John.

BERMAN: So, now to the State of the Union. Get on board or get out of the way. President Obama issuing a second term challenge to Congress for bipartisan cooperation. I guess bipartisan cooperation on his terms. This was in his speech last night, the president hit on major agenda issues -- the economy, immigration reform and gun, which really provided the emotional exclamation point for the speech.

We're joined this morning by White House correspondent Brianna Keilar live in the Washington bureau. We're actually live in your home bureau this morning.


BERMAN: Nice to see you this morning.

KEILAR: Good to see you.

Yes, he urged members of Congress to work together. And we heard some echoes I think of the campaign where he was talking about everyone kind of deserving a fair shot. But he proposed economic proposals that already Republicans are banning. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: We can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is strong.

KEILAR (voice-over): In the first State of the Union address of his second term, President Obama unveiled a slate of new proposals aimed at improving the lives of the middle class, taking on everything from universal preschool education, to repairing the nation's aging infrastructure, to addressing the threat of climate change.

He urged Congress to put partisan differences aside on the issue of immigration and to stay focused on a plan to jump-start the nation's lethargic economy.

OBAMA: The American people have worked too hard for too long rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another.

KEILAR: Renewing an unfulfilled promise from his first presidential campaign, Obama asked Congress to increase the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.

OBAMA: Let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty. Let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.

KEILAR: In the moment of the night, the president called on Congress to vote for tougher gun legislation, stepped up background checks, and an assault weapons ban.

OBAMA: Gabby Giffords deserves a vote.


The families of Newtown deserve a vote.


The families of Aurora deserve a vote.

KEILAR: On national security, the president warned of the threats posed by enemy hackers, announcing new measures to increase information sharing, and adding long south details on the case of the drawdown in Afghanistan, he announced plans to bring home nearly half the troops serving there by this time next year.

OBAMA: Another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan, this drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.


KEILAR: How will all of this be paid for? The president vowed --

OBAMA: Nothing I'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime.


KEILAR: But maybe not surprisingly, he did not layout a price tag. The White House says that will be flushed out when he unveils his budget next month.

And, of course, now, it's about selling the plan. He heads off on a bit of a tour. He'll be in Asheville, North Carolina today. He'll be in Atlanta. He'll be in Chicago at the end of the week, selling his economic proposals and also, of course, Chicago will be certainly about his gun violence proposals.

BERMAN: Yes, Brianna, the budgeting is interesting. No details for now. We'll just have to take their word on it.

KEILAR: Republicans won't, you can be sure of that.

O'BRIEN: I was about to say that same thing.

BERMAN: Brianna Keilar, thanks very much.

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Brianna.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio gave the GOP response to the president's State of the Union Address.

Among Republican voters who took the dial test, Rubio scored his highest marks when ge was talking about big government. Here's what he said.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: And the idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hard working middle class taxpayers, that's an old idea that's failed every time it's been tried.

More government isn't going to help you get ahead. It's going to hold you back. More government isn't going to create more opportunities. It's going to limit them. And more government isn't going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs. It's going to create uncertainty.


O'BRIEN: Republican Senator Rand Paul gave the Tea Party response. He chastised both parties for spending too much.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: It is often said there's not enough bipartisanship up here. That's not true. There's plenty of bipartisanship. Both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of back room deals in which everyone up here wins but every taxpayer loses. (END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: People tweeting up a storm during the State of the Union address. A total of 1.1 million tweets sent out using #SOTU for State of the Union. From the moment the president entered the House chamber, far more than the 645,000 tweets that happened the same time last year.

The most tweeted moment was 9:52 p.m. Eastern Time when the president talked about middle class opportunity and raising the minimum wage. It generated 24,000 tweets per minute.

His call for gun control was a close second with 23,700 tweets per minute.

Ahead this morning in our next hour, we're going to have more on the State of the Union address and analysis from Republican Congressman Tim Huelskamp of Kansas. He'll be joining us.

And then at 6:30, we'll be joined by Don Baer, former White House communications director under President Clinton.

BERMAN: Other news going on right now, Pope Benedict making his first appearance today since announcing his resignation, all eyes and ears on the pontiff as he gives his weekly address. We'll have details and a live report from Rome. You're looking at live pictures right now.

We'll have that report, coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating what will likely be his last public mass on this Ash Wednesday. But before that happens, he appeared before the thousands of faithful who gathered at St. Peter's Square, thanking them in several languages and also mentioning his decision to step down.

Senior European correspondent Jim Bittermann is in Vatican City with that for us. When we were checking in with you earlier, the Pope was just arriving. So what did he say and how did he look?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Zoraida, he looked reasonably good. He delivered about a 20-minute message and began that message by talking about the fact that he was going to be leaving the church. He thanked the audience, the people that had gathered for this regular papal audience, thank the pilgrims that had gathered for their support and their love as he put it.

He said that he was certain the church would continue and he would like the pilgrims to pray for not only him but for his successor. And then he went into the Lenten message, the temptation of Christ, 40 days in the wilderness and that the basis of the Christian celebration of Lent. In any cases, he did mention of it and he received tumultuous applause every time he did. And he also received sustained applause at the end of his remarks this morning.

So I would say he appeared buoyed up by the support he was getting, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Well, that's nice to know. So, we're learning more about his health. The Pope recently underwent surgery. What are the details of that and do we know if that influenced his decision to step down?

BITTERMANN: Well, there was a lot of that written in the press here that he went through the surgery which the spokesman for the Vatican, Federico Lombardi, said yesterday was really just a replacement of the battery in his pacemaker. And that, of course, was a surprise to some people who didn't know he had a pacemaker but Vatican insiders knew that about 10 years ago. As a cardinal, he had one implanted and as a consequence, it was a fairly routine operation, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Senior European correspondent Jim Bittermann, really nice to have you out there. Thank you very much.

It is 18 past the hour.

Some GOP senators threatening a filibuster this morning after former Senator Chuck Hagel cleared a major hurdle towards becoming the next defense secretary. The Senate Armed Services Committee narrowly approved his controversial nomination yesterday. No Republicans on the panel backed the former Nebraska GOP senator. Hagel's nomination now moves to the full Senate for a vote which is expected to happen this week. It could happen as early as tonight.

And passengers onboard the doomed cruise ship Triumph are at the mercy of the sea and the wind conditions. Two tugboats are moving that ship crippled by an engine fire in the Gulf of Mexico to a port in Alabama. If sea winds do not cooperate, it could mean another day stuck with deplorable conditions, including flushing sewage and dwindling food supply.

But if all goes well, which we're hoping it does, the ship could arrive in Mobile by this afternoon.

And all public schools in Hamden, Connecticut, will be closed again today. That is the town that was literally buried under a record 40 inches of snow from last week's blizzard. Hamden's mayor says the town is still in a state of emergency as 30 crews are moving snow 24 hours a day until the town is entirely passable. Can you imagine how difficult that must be for the folks out there?

BERMAN: I mean, wow. A lot of days after that.

SAMBOLIN: Literally stuck at home.



O'BRIEN: Amazing, those pictures.

BERMAN: What happens when you get three plus feet of snow somewhere, though. All right. Thanks, Zoraida.


BERMAN: Back here in Washington, President Obama saying last night that he wants to make America a magnet for manufacturing. Are American factories making a comeback? We're going to take a closer look, coming up.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Minding your business this morning. The president last night touted American renaissance in manufacturing.

BERMAN: This White House wants to make the U.S. a magnet for making things again. So time for some fact-checking.

Our Christine Romans on the case. Hey, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, guys. You know, after 20 years of jobs and manufacturing moving to cheaper factory floors around the world, the president sees a shift, a return to manufacturing here.


OBAMA: Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs in manufacturing. After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three.


ROMANS: A fact-check of that 500,000 figure, it's true if you tally jobs from 2010 when the industry hit rock bottom. But a longer view tells a different story.

This is the context you must look at any manufacturing story with. This is manufacturing in America, the number of manufacturing jobs since 1979.

That chart is terrible. The industry hit a peak with nearly 20 million jobs, manufacturing jobs, in 1979. It's been shrinking ever since, hitting rock bottom in 2010, at the same time, of course, the economy was in the dump.

That 490,000 jobs he's talking about is the little far right part at the bottom of the line.

Now, some companies are bringing their production back to the U.S. to keep better control of their product. Others, yes, are bringing some production back because wages and worker demands are rising in countries like China. You just can't make it as cheaply as could you in some of these other spots.

The fact is any manufacturing renaissance is still fragile and elusive. America is manufacturing more with fewer workers. And in August and September, you guys, America actually shed manufacturing jobs. So recently that little renaissance has been slowing.

Our trade deficit is still gargantuan. We import more than we export $500 billion more every year that we export. And that gap hurts economic growth and it hurts jobs.

Now, in 2010, the president promised he would double American exports by the year 2014, and looking at those numbers currently, that's not likely to happen.

One thing about America and what we value in America, we invent things here and for years we've been building them somewhere else.

Tim Cook, for example sitting there in the box watching this speech last night, he is the CEO of Apple. Apple designs it here, builds it somewhere else, and then sells back here. It doesn't necessarily manufacture it here. Maybe they will do some assembly in the U.S., but that Apple model is exactly one reason why you will not see a vast, vast improvement in manufacturing jobs anytime soon.

O'BRIEN: I think that's a good point.

All right. Christine, thank you.

We're going to get back to our top story this morning, dramatic night in Big Bear, California. Police closing in on this fugitive, former police officer Christopher Dorner. What happened in that cabin you see there burning? We'll get the latest from the Los Angeles Police Department straight ahead.