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THE SITUATION ROOM

California Manhunt Ends; Rubio's Awkward Moment; Police Officer Honored in SOTU Speaks Out; Carnival Gives Extra Money to Stranded Passengers; Newark Mayor Lambasts Violent Video

Aired February 13, 2013 - 18:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Also, horror stories aboard a crippled cruise ship, another 24 hours of unbelievable filth.

Some are jokingly calling it water, yes, water-gate. Did the awkward moment undercut Senator Rubio's message last night?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burn it down. Burn it down. Burn it down. Shoot the gas. Get the gas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burning gas. Burning gas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burning gas. Burning gas.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BLITZER: The shouts of police in the frantic moments when a fired cop's war of revenge went down in flames; 24 hours later, there are still many questions about the shoot-out, the fire, and the apparent death of Christopher Dorner. It will take days, officials say, for investigators to officially identify the body found in that burned-out cabin.

After four killings, LAPD police officers won't let their guard down too much, until they're absolutely sure that Dorner is dead.

CNN's Brian Todd is at the scene of the final standoff in Big Bear, California.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as investigators continue to try to confirm that the body in that charred-out cabin is Christopher Dorner's, people in this area are still reeling from what he's believed to have done here over the past several days.

(voice-over): More than two hours' drive from where Christopher Dorner's troubles began, law enforcement officials say the former L.A. policeman terrorized a rustic mountain community in his final hours. Near Big Bear Lake, Rick Heltebrake says he was carjacked by Dorner who he says came out of the trees and confronted him as he checked on a property. Heltebrake spoke to NBC's "Today Show."

RICK HELTEBRAKE, VICTIM: He came up to me with his gun pointed at me and I stopped my truck, put it in park, raised my hands and he said, I don't want to hurt you. Just get out and start walking up the road and take your dog, which is what I did.

TODD: A California fish and wildlife official tells us they believe Dorner was driving a stolen car when he shot at two of their wardens as he passed them, damaging their vehicle.

Others in this area also crossed Dorner's path.

(on camera): It was in this group of houses that Dorner at one point encountered a couple cleaning one of the houses. He tied them up and stole their car. This was right across the street from one of the law enforcement command posts and a very popular ski resort where people are still feeling the anxiety over what happened.

(voice-over): At Bear Mountain Resort, where hundreds of skiers and snowboarders gather every day, one of the managers says people had been living in fear for days knowing that Dorner was in the area.

KARL KLOUZER, BEAR MOUNTAIN RESORT: Some of the employees that work around here, they were feeling the vibration. It was scaring them. They had their guns loaded sleeping -- you know, sleeping with their guns.

TODD: Kaitlyn Bibbens had come to celebrate her 17th birthday on the slopes. She says just as the news broke that Dorner was moving close by...

KAITLYN BIBBENS, SNOWBOARDER: I found out when my mom actually called me crying coming to get me. But I don't know. It was kind of scary knowing that he was just right there.

TODD: Her mother, Pam, drove to Big Bear frantic to get her daughter out.

(on camera): What was going through your mind at the time you were driving up here?

PAM BIBBENS, MOTHER: To get here as quick as possible and not cry because I knew how scared I was. And when I called them, they were really scared because they had seen all of the activity so close to the slope.

TODD (voice-over): Carter Evans, a reporter for a local CBS News affiliate, was just a few dozen yards away when the final gunfight broke out. His station got exclusive video. We spoke to Evans' wife, whose friends were calling and texting during the standoff.

COURTNEY FRIEL, WIFE OF REPORTER: It was really scary. I was frozen in the kitchen for a good 30 minutes and just trying to get in touch with him. I was thinking, oh, my gosh, am I going to be a single mom? TODD (on camera): Neither Carter Evans nor his photographer were allowed to speak to us on camera, but the photographer told me off- camera that bullets were whizzing by their heads during that final gunfight and he thought they might not make it out of there alive -- Wolf.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Brian Todd on the scene for us, thank you.

Police blame Christopher Dorner for four deaths, two of them law enforcement officers.

Bagpipes played as the officer Michael Crain was laid to rest in Riverside, California today. Thousands attended the funeral. Crain was ambushed in his patrol car a week ago with another officer who was wounded.

Kate Bolduan is here and she's watching another important story involving a Carnival cruise nightmare.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, definitely a cruise ship nightmare, Wolf. That's absolutely right.

Boats and helicopters are bringing new supplies to the Carnival Triumph. The crippled ship is expected to finally dock in Mobile, Alabama, tomorrow, four days after a fire broke out in the engine room. Passengers say conditions on board are disgusting and getting worse by the hour.

CNN's David Mattingly is at the Port of Mobile.

I'm sure, David, preparations have to be under way for all of these passengers to finally be reaching solid land.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right.

City officials just a short while ago saying that they are prepared to greet these passengers when they arrive here, prepared to help in any way. They're also prepared to help family members who are coming here to greet them before they have a chance to go to hotels or to flights to get back home. So right now, a great deal of anxiety, both on that ship and here onshore.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Now in their fourth day at sea, with no engine, overflowing sewage, no air conditioning and no hot water, the guests aboard the Carnival Triumph can't get to dry land soon enough.

Mary Poret and Kim McKerreghan got a distressing phone call from their young daughters on Sunday, detailing conditions on board.

MARY PORET, PASSENGER'S MOTHER: (INAUDIBLE) in floors, urinating, using the bathroom in bags.

KIM MCKERREGHAN, PASSENGER'S MOTHER: Onion sandwiches.

PORET: Standing in line for food for hours.

MCKERREGHAN: They had water but it was hot. There was no air. It's so hot, mommy. It's so hot.

MATTINGLY: Traveling with their fathers, 10-year-old Ally (ph) and 12-year-old Rebecca (ph) are cruise veterans with eight trips between them. Until now, nothing but good experiences.

Their moms drove from Texas to meet them in Mobile, supplied with food and, if necessary, antibiotics. But they haven't heard from them now in three days.

(on camera): Have you ever heard them that upset before?

PORET: Never.

MCKERREGHAN: No.

PORET: And I never, ever want to hear that again.

MCKERREGHAN: Not that deep, frustrating, mom, come get me now. No. The one that makes you climb barbed-wire fences and everything just walk over hot coals to get to your kids. We have an ocean we can't cross.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): For the 3,100 passengers and 1,000 crew members, the trip to shore remains agonizingly slow. Tugs moving the ship a mere five to eight miles per hour. Everyone will have to endure one more night on board before navigating the last stretch of water through Mobile Bay, arriving nearly five days late and almost 500 miles off-course.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: And, already, Carnival officials saying they're canceling the next 12 cruises aboard this particular cruise ship, so that they can take care of repairs and whatever else they may need to do here. Federal government also anxious to start their investigation into what happened, why the fire started that started this whole problem at the very beginning.

BOLDUAN: Yes, you can be sure everyone wants to know the results of that investigation.

David Mattingly, thanks very much, a very exciting day for many people coming up tomorrow.

BLITZER: And, Kate, Carnival Cruise Lines has just announced it's paying passengers for their trouble an additional $500 each. Carnival's president saying, and I'm quoting now, "We know it has been a longer journey back than we anticipated at the beginning of the week, under very challenging circumstances. We are very sorry for what our guests have had to endure. Therefore, in addition to the full refund and future cruise credit already offered, we have decided to provide this additional compensation. I look forward to welcoming everyone to Mobile tomorrow and have mobilized our full resources to assist and support them as they travel home."

Remember, 3,143 guests are on board that Carnival Triumph.

We will have live coverage of the arrival here in THE SITUATION ROOM tomorrow. It's supposed to arrive right around 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

We're also hearing a lot of the typical partisan reaction to the president's State of the Union address. The question now, is there any room for compromise, especially on one of the most emotional issues? We're talking about gun control.

A key Republican is suggesting the president may get the vote he's asking for.

Here's our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it was a big moment that might move some votes. What was widely seen as the emotional high point of the president's State of the Union speech may have also been a turning point in the battle over gun control.

(voice-over): It was a moment carefully orchestrated for maximum emotional impact. As former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the parents of slain teenager Hadiya Pendleton and dozens of other victims of gun violence looked on, President Obama called for a vote.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They deserve a vote.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Gabby Giffords deserves a vote.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: The families of Newtown deserve a vote.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: The families of Aurora deserve a vote.

ACOSTA: One day later, there are indications on Capitol Hill the president may get it.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We don't need a cheerleader.

ACOSTA: Even as one of Mr. Obama's top Republican critics, Senator Lindsey Graham, made his case that the current system of background checks needs to be strengthened before it's expanded, he answered the president's call. (on camera): Will you personally block a vote in the Senate on gun control measures?

(CROSSTALK)

GRAHAM: No. Let's vote. No, I don't disagree with the president. Have a debate. Let's vote. Let's find something we can agree on.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The reaction was the same from West Virginia Democratic Senator and gun enthusiast Joe Manchin.

(on camera): You won't block a vote on...

(CROSSTALK)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I won't block a vote on anything, whether I support it or not.

ACOSTA: That doesn't mean that the National Rifle Association will stop fighting.

DAVID KEENE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: The president is trying to use emotion to force things through before they have been rationally debated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama gives a good speech.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The NRA released a new ad pointing to an unpublished study on preventing gun violence from the government's National Institute of Justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An assault weapons ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence.

ACOSTA: The study goes to question proposals for universal background checks, saying the effectiveness of those checks may depend on requiring gun registration, a major turnoff for owners of firearms.

When asked about the study, a Justice Department official told CNN it's not a public document and had no further comment. As for the victims' families, the debate over gun control has quickly turned many of them into political experts on the issue. Consider this man, whose sister was gunned down last year, telling a senator which measure is likely to get a vote.

ELVIN DANIEL, BROTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: Universal background check, without a doubt. And I am a gun owner. I am an NRA member. I'm an avid hunter. But I truly believe...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... ammunition, as well as...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One step at a time.

ACOSTA (on camera): As for the NRA, the gun lobby's outspoken CEO, Wayne LaPierre, is planning to hold a news conference in Tennessee tomorrow to respond to the president's State of the Union speech. As for that Justice Department study, the NRA is not saying how it got it -- Wolf.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Jim Acosta, thank you.

BOLDUAN: The stage is set for a Senate showdown over the president's choice to be the next defense secretary. Republicans have been trying to delay a full Senate vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination. But the top Senate Democrat filed a motion today to end the debate and clear the way for confirmation.

Our chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, is here.

Dana, what are you thinking? Is this a hurdle or is Chuck Hagel in real trouble?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kate, our Jessica Yellin is hearing at the White House -- or she's covering the White House, of course. She's hearing from administration officials that they think eventually Hagel will be confirmed.

But I talked to a senior Democratic source who said that in the Senate, they just don't know yet if they have those 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH (voice-over): Chuck Hagel's opponents are not going down without a fight.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Am I supposed to sit on the sidelines and be a good, compliant Republican and just let this administration not account for what I think is a national security breakdown of monumental proportions?

BASH: From day one, Lindsey Graham was a leading critic of Hagel on his past positions on everything from Iraq to Israel. Now Graham and others are threatening to block Hagel for defense secretary, using him as leverage on a completely different issue. They want to know if the president called Libyan officials the night of September's Benghazi attack to ask for help for Americans eventually killed.

(on camera): How do you respond to critics who are saying that you're just moving the goalposts? First, it's about Hagel's past and it's about what he said, and now it's about...

GRAHAM: I'm going to take every opportunity. I'm not denying it.

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: You are moving the goalposts?

GRAHAM: No. I'm going to hit you and keep hitting you, absolutely. You're not going to get away with not answering basic questions.

BASH (voice-over): John McCain, who had said that he would not go along with the Hagel filibuster, is reversing course, saying he too wants answers about Benghazi before letting Hagel go through.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: It's the first time in the history of our country that a presidential nominee for secretary of defense has been filibustered. What a shame.

BASH: All this a day after the Armed Services Committee approved Hagel's nomination on a party-line vote, amid biting accusations.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Have you been paid directly by a foreign government?

BASH: Republican Ted Cruz demanding to know if Hagel accepted money for speeches from foreign countries that oppose U.S. interests.

CRUZ: It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea. And I have no evidence to suggest that it is or isn't.

BASH: Democrats lit into Cruz.

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: Senator Cruz has gone over the line. He basically has impugned the patriotism of the nominee.

BASH: Even McCain, opposed to Hagel's nomination, said Cruz went too far.

MCCAIN: Senator Hagel is an honorable man. He has served his country and no one on this committee, at any time, should impugn his character or his integrity.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Now, the Senate Armed Services chairman, Carl Levin, says he actually expects the White House to give Senators McCain and Graham the answers they're looking for on the president and Benghazi, but administration officials say they're still deliberating on whether to do that.

And what all this means is that a nomination, Wolf, that the White House, and Kate, knew that was going to be really bumpy is uncertain at this hour. But I can report from Jessica Yellin, she's hearing from sources close to Hagel that he does not have any intention of withdrawing his nomination.

BOLDUAN: And Dana, you will remember, Hagel during his confirmation hearing, he was widely criticized for offering a very poor performance. Is that playing into this at all? Or are they just using this as an opportunity for a completely different issue?

BASH: That's such a good question, Kate, because you know this. You know that when there are former members of the club, the Senate, like John Kerry, who sailed through, because he had a lot of support here, and had a lot of deep friendships, John Hagel -- Chuck Hagel, rather, doesn't have that.

He doesn't have the support, obviously, of his former fellow Republican colleagues and tepid support, I think, from many Democrats who are trying to do what they think is right for the president, but were very shocked and not very happy about his performance at that hearing.

BOLDUAN: We're waiting and watching and seeing if this confirmation will be held up and how long. Dana Bash on Capitol Hill, thanks, Dana.

BLITZER: Reading a teleprompter on live television isn't always all that easy. I know. I do it every single day. And we also get thirsty from time to time. I get thirsty all the time as well.

So here's a question, why are people on social media sites saying stuff, making such a fuss about Marco Rubio's now-famous grab for a bottle of water?

Excuse me. I'm getting a little thirsty here.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Oh, Wolf.

BLITZER: Mmm.

Ah.

BOLDUAN: OK.

BLITZER: You know, sometimes, you get thirsty.

BOLDUAN: I know. I know.

BLITZER: We are going to take a closer look at Marco Rubio. He is a rising, rising star in the Republican Party.

Oh, excuse me. Mmm.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Go to break.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

BLITZER: More news coming up, including more than 4,000 people, they're still trapped on a filthy cruise ship and they're desperate to get off. We will hear some horror stories, what is going on. We will get the latest on when this nightmare will end.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Senator Marco Rubio is trying not to let his biggest national speech yet be defined by a gulp of water. He's even having a bit of a chuckle about it. He's getting even more scrutiny after giving his response to the president's State of the Union address.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Good evening. I'm Marco Rubio.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): The 41-year-old senator, already labeled the Republican savior, was blunt in his official GOP response to the president's state of the union address.

RUBIO: His solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more, and spend more.

BOLDUAN: His big moment, however, overshadowed by an unscripted drink of water now deemed Watergate. Rubio took the moment now gone viral in stride.

RUBIO: I needed water. What am I going to do, you know? It happens. God has a funny way of reminding us that we are human.

BOLDUAN: That charm is one reason behind his rapid rise in the Republican party. To better understand his star power, we went to his roots, West Miami, Florida. His success may seem improbable.

RUBIO: My dad was a bartender. My mom was a cashier.

BOLDUAN: But it's no surprise to those close to Marco Rubio.

REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R), FLORIDA: Marco always was a superstar. He was a standout intern.

BOLDUAN: Rubio got his first taste of politics interning for Florida congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

ROS-LEHTINEN: I was a lot thinner and he had a lot more hair. But he's the same old Marco. Marco would do anything and everything I asked interns to do, and willingly so. Whether it was getting coffee or making copies. But mostly going with me to events. He was a real people person. BOLDUAN: Soon after, at 26 years old, Rubio won his first election for the West Miami city commission. The community he grew up in and still lives with his wife and four young children.

So this is kind of where it all began, if you will?

REBECA SOSA, CHAIR, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS: It is where it all began for him and for me.

BOLDUAN: I'm sure people were wondering, was he good?

SOSA: He was excellent. That was his seat.

BOLDUAN: Rebeca Sosa is a longtime friend and considered Marco Rubio's political godmother.

What makes Marco Rubio tick?

SOSA: Sometimes people get so arrogant that they don't listen. Marco listens. Marco sits with people. Marco analyzes his surrounding.

BOLDUAN: But it wasn't always easy. After becoming one of the youngest speakers of the Florida state house, he was the long-shot Senate candidate in 2010. Jose Mallea ran his campaign.

JOSE MALLEA, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Early on, the entire establishment was against Marco. I think if you asked 100 political strategists from all over the country, 99 would have probably told you that it couldn't happen.

BOLDUAN: And that come-from-behind victory launched Rubio into the national spotlight. He was considered a top vice presidential contender during Mitt Romney's White House run. He introduced Romney at the Republican convention last year.

RUBIO: My dad used to tell us - (SPEAKING IN SPANISH). In this country - in this country, you're going to be able to accomplish all the things we never could.

BOLDUAN: Rubio's personal story has been a big part of his political narrative and the source of his biggest controversy to date. A son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio long suggested his parents fled the rule of Fidel Castro. But they actually came to the U.S. more than two years prior.

RUBIO: Do I wish I had known those dates earlier? Absolutely. Does it change anything? Absolutely not.

BOLDUAN: Still, those Latin roots and his conservative credentials are a perfect combination for a party in search of a makeover and desperate to attract more Hispanic voters. So it's fitting that Rubio responded to the president in both English and Spanish.

RUBIO: (SPEAKING SPANISH)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Add to all of that Rubio is taking a leading role on the latest push on immigration reform, and it leaves many folks asking the inevitable question of, what is next for Marco Rubio?

Well, while spending some time in west Miami, it was clear that his hometown supporters are not setting expectations low. We even came across a man holding a Rubio 2016 sign in town.

Maybe a little early for those signs to be going up.

BLITZER: Maybe not.

BOLDUAN: Maybe.

BLITZER: I think he's got an impressive future. He's a very smart guy.

BOLDUAN: We will be following him.

BLITZER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

BLITZER: We saw some real raw emotion in the House chamber last night when the president urged Congress to vote on gun control.

BOLDUAN: Yes, we sure did. During his State of the Union address, the president pointed to one of his special guests to help him make his case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We should follow the example of a police officer named Brian Murphy.

When a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Brian was the first to arrive, and he did not consider his own safety. He fought back until help arrived and ordered his fellow officers to protect the safety of the fellow Americans worshiping inside, even as he lay bleeding from 12 bullet wounds.

And when asked how he did that, Brian said, "That's just the way we're made. That's just the way we're made."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: CNN anchor Chris Cuomo sat down with Lieutenant Murphy in an exclusive interview before the president's speech.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LT. BRIAN MURPHY, U.S. ARMY: I have been hit an awful lot. When you're on your belly and you look down and your hands are basically just shot to pieces, then you start thinking, "I might be in trouble here."

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Lieutenant Brian Murphy remembers every one of the 15 bullets he took on what he calls a beautiful Sunday morning this past August, just moments after responding to a call of shots fired at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

(on camera): What happened? MURPHY: I yelled, "Stop!" I saw his pistol come up. We both shot pretty much about the same time. Thirty, 40 yards away, maybe. I missed, and he hit me directly in the chin. It went down my throat and ripped apart my voice box and my larynx.

CUOMO (voice-over): His voice is still damaged, but there's dashcam video to tell the story. Murphy confronting the shadowy figure of the shooter, who runs right at him, both firing. When Murphy is hit, the shooter closes in.

Nine people were already shot. Six died in a hateful act of domestic terrorism. Now Lieutenant Murphy was in the shooter's sites.

MURPHY: And that's when the shots hit me in the back of the leg and hit the vest a couple times. Then he shot me directly in the back of the head, just right here in the back of my skull, and that was the one that kind of stopped me in my tracks for a second.

CUOMO: That should have killed Murphy, but it was just the beginning.

MURPHY: He just continued to shoot, probably 6 to 8 feet away. And then all of a sudden, it got very quiet. There was no sound. There was nothing. And that was the first time that I thought I might be going out. I just felt warm and my eyes got heavy, and I thought, "I could stay here."

CUOMO: In a life-or-death situation, the officer makes an amazing decision. Instead of curling up to protect himself, he keeps moving to distract the gunman, a heroic move that came at great cost.

(on camera): Nobody gets shot this many times. Was that going through your head at all? Like, "I can't believe how many times I've been shot"?

MURPHY: Absolutely. It's funny you say that, and it's kind of silly to laugh about it, but there was a point where I just thought, Jesus, are you not done? I mean, how many times can you shoot someone?

CUOMO (voice-over): Even when help comes, Murphy waves off his fellow officers, telling them to help others first. His survival is a miracle.

(on camera): I've never met anybody who took 15 rounds before. You probably never heard of anybody who took 15 rounds before.

MURPHY: No.

CUOMO: So why you? Do you ask yourself, "Why was I chosen to survive?"

MURPHY: It's probably one of the first questions I asked, even in intensive care was, "Why me?" I probably couldn't have lived with myself if it was one of the officers who I work with. CUOMO (voice-over): Part of why may have been answered when he received an invitation to be a guest of the president at the State of the Union.

(on camera): When people say you at the State of the Union, what do you think you'll symbolize?

MURPHY: I hope perseverance. I hope dedication to duty.

CUOMO (voice-over): His presence in the first lady's box may also symbolize the president's push for tougher restrictions on guns.

MURPHY: From a societal point of view, there needs to be recognition of the fact that there is -- this is a problem. Does it necessarily mean restriction? I don't know. My shooter would have passed any background check. As a matter of fact, went and bought his weapon legally. Does that mean that we just give up and say, "We don't need to touch anything?" I think what's being done is the correct thing.

CUOMO: For all he's lived through, there is one thing Lieutenant Brian Murphy is not sure he can live with. He doesn't like to be called that word.

MURPHY: If you wanted to call me, you know, obstinate and stubborn man of the year, I'll take it, but hero I still have a hard time with.

CUOMO (on camera): You're going to get used to it, because you're going to get some practice.

MURPHY: OK.

CUOMO: Because you are exactly what we want to hold out to people as what heroic behavior is all about. If not you, who?

MURPHY: I appreciate you saying that. I really do.

CUOMO: I've never been so happy to shake a hand from Brooklyn.

MURPHY: Thank you. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: That's an excellent report.

BOLDUAN: And amazing that he's alive, when you hear how that all unfolded.

BLITZER: Yes, yes.

BOLDUAN: It's absolutely amazing, and a very interesting take on the gun-control debate. He's a very interesting voice to have as a part of it all.

BLITZER: Thank Chris for doing that. BOLDUAN: Yes, great piece.

BLITZER: Family members are very worried right now about passengers stuck on board that crippled Carnival cruise ship. We're going to speak with a woman whose daughter's health may be in danger.

Also, the Newark, New Jersey, mayor, Cory Booker, he is railing against a vicious and cruel act caught on video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR CORY BOOKER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: In the face of evil, those who remain quiet are participants in that evil.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Thousands of people on board that crippled Carnival cruise ship may finally see dry land tomorrow. As we've reported, Carnival is now promising to give passengers an extra $500 each in compensation for what they've been through, and it has been tough. We've been hearing about deplorable conditions and desperate scrambles for something to eat.

We're joined now on the phone by Sheila Safarsiday (ph). Her daughter, Parisa, is one of the people on board and stranded there on the "Carnival Triumph."

Sheila, thanks so much for calling in. I really appreciate you joining me. I mean, this must be so scary for you and your family. Parisa has just graduated from college, but you have not heard from her since Monday. What was the last you heard from your daughter? How did -- your daughter. How did she sound?

SHEILA SAFARSIDAY (PH), MOTHER OF PASSENGER (via phone): She sounded very, very concerned about the sanitation situation. She was really upset that what was being told by Carnival to us was not what was going on. She said that there was no running water. They had -- there was no plumbing. They had to stand in line for three hours for water. That they're -- they had to urinate in the shower.

She says, "Please, please, call someone. Call CNN and ask them to please, please send someone out to see what's really going on."

BOLDUAN: The poor thing. I mean, she's there with nine other friends. I mean, what have they been doing to fill their time as they've been stranded out there?

SAFARSIDAY (PH): Well, what she's been doing with her friends, they have managed to go back and forth from the deck and to one of their friends that had a suite, and all ten of them have been going back and forth.

The main thing that she was so concerned with was the sanitation. She says that it was like Hurricane Katrina. That there was just no -- nothing was as it should be.

BOLDUAN: And clearly, I mean, there has to be health concerns on board. I mean, we hear that there's going to be medical assistance at the port when they finally reach land at the port in Alabama. Are you concerned about her health?

SAFARSIDAY (ph): I'm concerned about everyone's health. I'm a nurse. And it is a big health issue, and it's just -- it's not right, it's not safe, it's not healthy.

When we questioned Carnival about it, they said, well, there's medical people on board, but that wasn't the issue. The issue was skirted around. It was unsanitary.

Again, I haven't spoken to her since Monday evening, but she was adamant about me calling and letting people know. And that's why I called the Coast Guard, trying to find out information. I sent e- mails to y'all, to see if y'all could send someone to board the ship. So it's just a major health concern.

BOLDUAN: And as a mother, I'm sure this is a horribly helpless feeling that you have, as your daughter is stranded out there and you have no way of even communicating with her at this point. I mean, if you had the chance to speak directly to the head of Carnival Cruise Lines, what would you say?

SAFARSIDAY (ph): I would just say, be transparent. Say from the very beginning what was going on. Telling the families that everything was fine, no one was injured, that they had plenty of food and water, that wasn't the truth. You know, tell us what was going on. Accept responsibility for it and just make sure that they are -- their health is the main concern. The safety. That's all.

BOLDUAN: Yes. As we understand, there's going to be, obviously, an investigation to really what happened in this -- on this ship, but I think the only thing you probably care about is finally seeing your daughter's face when she reaches dry land tomorrow.

Sheila, thanks so much for calling in. We look forward to hearing -- hearing how your daughter is doing.

SAFARSIDAY (ph): Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

SAFARSIDAY (ph): Bye.

BLITZER: We're going to have live coverage, by the way, here in THE SITUATION ROOM tomorrow. That ship is supposed to arrive in Mobile around 4 p.m. Eastern. We'll speak with the passengers, crew members, as they're getting off that ship tomorrow, 4 p.m. Eastern, THE SITUATION ROOM.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker, he is outraged about a video that has surfaced. It is truly disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOOKER: This evil was able to fester. Months went by and nothing happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A really disturbing video has surfaced of a man being brutally beaten over a -- over a $20 debt.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And we do want to warn you that some of the -- some of the images in this story, some people may find disturbing. CNN's national correspondent, Deborah Feyerick, has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's disturbing to watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the wall! Look at the wall! Look at the wall!

FEYERICK: A now 21-year-old man cornered, forced to strip naked, sprayed with water, and whipped with a belt some 50 times as he cringes in pain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take off your...

FEYERICK: The assault last August just surfaced on YouTube, getting tens of thousands of hits. At least three men curse, berate, and humiliate the victim over a $20 debt owed by the victim's father. The brutality drew sharp words from Newark mayor, Cory Booker.

BOOKER: This is not who we are. We are Newark, New Jersey. We do not tolerate this level of cruelty, of callous disregard for the dignity of humanity. We do not tolerate this viciousness. We do not tolerate this kind of evil in our community.

FEYERICK: The video was recorded by one of the attackers and also posted on the urban Web site, WorldStarHipHop.com. No one stepped forward to report the assault, which police began investigating only after the recording surfaced.

BOOKER: This crime in August was not reported. No one called 911.

FEYERICK: Three men have been arrested, including the one whose heard identifying himself by the street name, Doggy Dog World.

SAMUEL DEMAIO, NEWARK POLICE: All three of the persons that were arrested, all three of the males, do have gang affiliation and are in our gang database here in the city of Newark. But the name that he was using, that Doggy Dog, is a street name that he uses, not the phrase that we would typically be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And not a gang specifically?

DEMAIO: No, not specific to any one gang.

FEYERICK: The suspects are being charged with robbery, aggravated assault, and maybe possible cybercrimes for recording the incident.

Newark's mayor, who seemed visibly outraged by the assault, the belt whipping and water spraying, called on the Newark community to overcome its fear and stand up.

BOOKER: You are either condoning that violence through your apathy, through your lack of involvement, or you are fighting against that injustice.

FEYERICK: The victim was fearful of retaliation and never came forward. Police say he ultimately cooperated and has since left Newark.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: Now, one of the suspects turned himself in on Tuesday night. The other two were arrested and charged, only after being identified on the video. All remain in custody.

But very chilling, and clearly, Wolf and Kate, the historical implications of a young African-American stripped and whipped in broad daylight, it's chilling, and that's what the mayor was responding to.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Well, hope he follows up on that.

BLITZER: Shocking.

BOLDUAN: It's horrible. Deborah Feyerick, thanks so much, Deborah.

So we're expecting -- we're standing by for a news conference from police in California that's going to be coming up very soon, so stay tuned right here in this after the fiery, final standoff with the fugitive ex-cop, Christopher Dorner.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're standing by for a news conference on the Christopher Dorner investigation. Any minute now. Let's go to the scene. Brian Todd is standing by. Set the scene for us, Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we're waiting for more information as officials work to confirm that this could be the remains of Christopher Dorner from that charred-out cabin.

Listening now to an announcement here. The police are announcing that they're about to open this road. This may get us a little bit closer to where that burned-out cabin is. Probably not right up to it, but maybe a little bit closer. They're making that announcement now as we speak. Still a very heavy law enforcement force here on this mountain range, and although officials have not yet definitively confirmed that the remains are -- are the remains of Christopher Dorner, a palpable sense of relief on this mountain range today. You talk to merchants, you talk to citizens around here, they are very relieved that this appears to be over, but again, waiting for final word that those are his remains -- those were his remains in that burned-out cabin -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll have live coverage. That's coming up in a few minutes. Brian, thanks very much. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Here's Jeanne Moos on last night's unique night right here in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like a man lost in the desert, parched 11 minutes into his speech, Marco Rubio reached.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: False choices like the one the president laid out.

MOOS: And now, we've all become waterlogged by that one little swig, played over and over in lip-licking slo-mo, put to a Latin beat by a radio host.

Out came the hash tag, #watergate, #gulpgate. Rubio's water bottle itself started to tweet: "Don't hate. Hydrate."

People posted Rubio film titles: "Zero Dark Thirsty" and "Silence of the Thirsty."

(on camera): It could have been worse. At least he managed not to dribble it down his chin. Or his chest.

(voice-over): Poland Spring basked in the glory on its Facebook page: "Reflecting in our cameo. What a night."

Even a conservative co-host of "The View" cracked wise, likening the Republican senator to the winner of Westminster.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK, CO-HOST, ABC'S "THE VIEW": Banana Joe (ph) and Rubio like to have water.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And since the press was laughing it up, Senator Rubio played along, tweeting out a photo of the bottle and bringing along a prop.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: You tweeted, "Had the water bottle" yourself.

RUBIO: I needed water. What am I going to do? You know, it happens. God has a funny way of reminding us we're human. MOOS: The last time he was reminded was at the Republican convention. After Clint Eastwood left the podium, Senator Rubio arrived, thirsty.

RUBIO: I think I just drank Clint Eastwood's water. Thank you.

MOOS (on camera): But Marco Rubio isn't the only one drowning in water jokes.

(voice-over): John Boehner drowned his sorrows as the president spoke, and "New York" magazine compiled "Robert Pattinson's nervous tick to water sip.'

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to talk about "Twilight."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are rumors...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But now...

MOOS: When Paul Ryan debated Joe Biden for the vice presidency, his sips ended up as a skit on "SNL."

JASON SUDEIKIS, CAST MEMBER, NBC'S "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": I may not go every Sunday, but on Christmas Eve...

MOOS: Two-handed chug was one thing. But apparently, comedians made fun of what they called Marco Rubio's cotton mouth dry noises.

RUBIO: Thank you for listening. May God bless all of you.

MOOS: We'll toast to that.

Jeanne Moos, CNN...

SUDEIKIS: I want to say, folks...

MOOS: ... New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: She's very funny.

BOLDUAN: She's very funny.

BLITZER: Can I get one?

BOLDUAN: No, you can't.

BLITZER: That's it for us. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.