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Police Name Suspect in Fatal Hit-and-Run Crash; Obama-Clinton Relationship; Budget Cuts Begins to Take Hold; Baby 'Cured' of HIV; Woman Denied CPR Dies in Retirement Home; Escort: Paid to Smear Menendez; East Coast Braces for Winter Storm

Aired March 4, 2013 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And a retirement home horror -- an elderly woman denied CPR is dead, and the audio recordings tells the story.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. Kate Bolduan is on assignment. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

On this first Monday after the forced budget cuts went into effect, most Americans are not feeling the pain, The pain that the president and other officials had been warning about repeatedly.

President Obama says it's only a matter of time, though, but how soon will it start to hurt and how much of a hurt will there be?

Let's bring in our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta. He's over at the White House -- Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, President Obama is insisting that Americans will start feeling the pain from these forced budget cuts that are now going into effect, and while the White House is rejecting the notion that it's engaging in some budget hype, one Cabinet secretary earlier today did acknowledge he had some of his facts wrong when it came to some of the impacts from these cuts.


ACOSTA (voice-over): From the table in the Cabinet room, President Obama warned the consequences of those automatic budget cuts are coming to kitchen tables across the country.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is an area deep concern. I think everybody knows where I stand on this issue. We are going to manage it as best we can to try to minimize the impacts on American families.

ACOSTA: The Department of Homeland Security says reductions in overtime for customs workers resulted in long lines at international airports around the U.S. over the weekend.

JANET NAPOLITANO, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We are already seeing the effects at some of the ports of entry. The big airports, for example, some of them had very long lines this weekend. I would say 150 to 200 percent as long as we would normally expect.

ACOSTA: A spokesperson for secretary Janet Napolitano cautioned she was not referring to TSA security checkpoints. The TSA says expect those wait times to spike later in the spring, as the agency won't fill up to 1,000 personnel vacancies by Memorial Day weekend. Passengers we found said they're not feeling it yet.

KEVIN MURDOCK, TRAVELER: Sequestration hasn't hit or bitten for us yet and we're pretty regular travelers.

ACOSTA: But the White House may be undercutting its case with some budget hype. Consider Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who now says he misspoke when he claimed last week that teachers were already receiving pink slips.

ARNE DUNCAN, U.S. EDUCATION SECRETARY: I want to apologize for not being as clear as I should have been. When I said pink slips, that was probably the wrong word. I should have used job eliminations.

ACOSTA (on camera): What is the administration doing to make sure that these numbers are not hyped, because might that undercut your message?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Here's the thing. If you disagree with the CBO and with outside economic analysts who say that up to three quarters of a million jobs will be lost, well, you should make that case. There's no way to do what the sequester calls for and not create these negative effects.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Americans may not be feeling the punch, but there are plenty of spending cut punch lines. Over the weekend, the S. in "SNL" stood for sequester.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: We no longer have full body scanners at the security lines, so we're asking everyone to take a photo down the front of their pants and just text that to us.

ACOSTA: With Washington becoming a joke, it's no surprise both sides appear willing to pass a measure that would avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm hopeful that the House and Senate will be able to work through this.


ACOSTA: And House Republicans have come up with something that may be described as a sequester softener. It would reduce some of the impacts from these cuts on the Defense Department and a slew of other federal programs like border protection and the FBI and all of this will go into the bill that is aimed at averting a government shutdown at the end of the month, but, Wolf, still no word from the White House or Senate Democrats as to how all of this plays with them.

BLITZER: This, the Republican proposal in the House, won't impact the amount of the forced budget cuts, will it?

ACOSTA: That's right.

I talked to a top GOP aide about this earlier today. He said -- quote -- "It doesn't lessen the amount of deficit reduction. It just does it in a less dangerous way."

Obviously, there were concerns on both sides of the aisle that these cuts were going to be too severe for the Defense Department, that national security would be put at risk, according to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. So some of this is going at those concerns. We will just have to see if any of this can get passed and over to the president for his signature.

BLITZER: I'm sure something will get past because they are not going to shut down the government. I say that with a high degree of probability. But you never know. This is Washington, after all. Jim Acosta, thank you.

A new warning today from the Obama administration that it's serious about stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Listen to the vice president, Joe Biden, speaking to the biggest pro-Israel lobbying group, AIPAC.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Big nations can't bluff. And presidents of the United States cannot and do not bluff and President Barack Obama is not bluffing.


BIDEN: We are not looking for war. We are looking to be ready to negotiate peacefully. But all options, including military force, are on the table.


BLITZER: Biden setting this space for the president's upcoming visit to Israel later this month, his first visit to Israel as president of the United States.

Secretary of State John Kerry already is in the Middle East. He's trying to breathe some life back into the peace process. In Saudi Arabia today, he had a surprise addition to his schedule, a working luncheon with the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

We are getting a new and candid look inside the president's foreign policy team and his relationship with Hillary Clinton when she was the secretary of state. They gushed about how well they worked together, but now we are hearing a different side of the story about some old political tensions that resurfaced.

Brian Todd has been looking at these reports.

What are you finding out? BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, according to a former State Department official, Vali Nasr, President Obama's team and Hillary Clinton's camp could never get quite past all the tension that had built up during that bruising 2008 Democratic primary campaign.

Nasr's new book details how Secretary Clinton had to fight to get her voice heard at the White House and how her top deputy was almost shut out completely.


TODD (voice-over): A former State Department insider is out with an explosive new book detailing rifts between President Obama and Hillary Clinton and her top deputy. Vali Nasr worked for Richard Holbrooke when Holbrooke was at the State Department under Clinton. Holbrooke's portfolio: special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Nasr writes that Holbrooke and Clinton had a good partnership, but that Holbrooke and sometimes Clinton were frozen out at the White House. Quote, "Both Clinton and Holbrooke, two incredibly dedicated people, had to fight to have their voices count on major foreign policy initiatives. Holbrooke never succeed."

Nasr believes it was mostly due to political bitterness. People closest to President Obama, Nasr writes, wanted to settle scores for Holbrooke's tenacious campaign support of Clinton who was herself eyed with suspicion by the Obama insiders. At times, it appears the White House was more interested in bringing Holbrooke down than getting the policy right.

We could not get Vali Nasr to speak with us on camera. Former Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin worked with Richard Holbrooke and Madeline Albright in the Clinton administration. He called Holbrooke the consummate foreign policy professional.

JAMES RUBIN, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Clearly some personal grudges, some concerns that Richard Holbrooke was, in the minds of the Obama White House, too big for his britches, played out in the making of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan and that's the tragedy.

TODD: Nasr depicts a president who did not have time to listen to Holbrooke. Even though Holbrooke was tapped with being a key point man when Afghan President Hamid Karzai, quote, "Holbrooke was not included in Obama's teleconferences with Karzai and was cut out of the presidential retinue when Obama went to Afghanistan."

RUBIN: Look, in the end, he's a big boy, he knew what he was getting into, and the Obama administration knew what they were getting into. Unfortunately, not every personnel pick works. And clearly, there were many people inside the administration who wished that the president had never chosen Richard Holbrooke for this important job.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TODD: On the question of Holbrooke not being included in teleconferences with Karzai or the Afghanistan trips, one White House official told us it was not customary to include State Department officials in presidential videoconferences with President Karzai.

And she said the secrecy surrounding presidential trips to Afghanistan made it impractical to take Holbrooke on the trips. We could not get a response from Hillary Clinton to Nasr's book. Richard Holbrooke passed away in December of 2010 -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Vali Nasr, who is now the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies here in Washington, he praises Hillary Clinton and he said she did a good job handling what was some potential tension there.

TODD: He is very effusive in his praise for Hillary Clinton. He writes that she remained very loyal to Richard Holbrooke and that through her sheer tenacity, she was able to get the president's ear on critical matters, as he writes, going around the Berlin Wall of staffers to get to the president on these critical matters.

And he writes that if it was not for her tenacity, for the respect that she commanded, that the State Department would have had no influence at all on policy making. That's probably an exaggeration, but he has high compliments for her, her tenacity, her stature. She just commanded a respect there that the Obama team could not ignore.

BLITZER: His book comes out next month.

TODD: That's right.

BLITZER: OK. We will have him on the show when it comes out. Thanks very much.

Now on to the manhunt in New York. Police believe they have identified a suspect behind a horrifying hit-and-run crash that killed a pregnant woman and her husband. The couple's newborn was delivered by emergency C-section, but he also has died.

CNN's Mary Snow is following this very tragic story for us in Brooklyn.

Mary, give our viewers a sense of what happened.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is such a heartbreaking story that it gained widespread attention far beyond this insular community.

People here were clinging to hope the baby would live, but now they're coming to grips with the triple tragedy and they're seeking justice.


SNOW (voice-over): Their baby was considered a miracle. Born by C-section after both his mother and father were killed by a hit and run driver. One day after his parents were killed, the baby of Nachman and Raizy Glauber also died.

It deepened the pain of the religious community of Hasidic Jews where mourners stood shoulder to shoulder in the street for funerals of the young couple. Both were 21. The brother of Raizy Glauber is turning to his faith.

JOSEPH SILVERSTEIN, RAIZY GLAUBER'S BROTHER: Whoever did not go through this can't even contemplate what this is to lose a sister and her husband and more at once so suddenly. God created this world. This was his will. This was what he wanted. This is what he did and we accept it.

SNOW: As the shaken community mourns, police search for the hit and run driver who fled the scene early Sunday. Police put out this photo identifying 44-year-old Julio Acevedo as a man wanted in connection with the crash.

The Glauber's were on their way to the hospital in a cab because pregnant, Raizy, did not feel well. Police say a BMW slammed into them, going over 60 miles per hour. In this community, which abides by strict religious rules, women didn't want to talk publicly out of concerns of modesty. People struggled not to show emotion. But in a place so tight-knit, they say a tragedy like this one spares no one.

DAVID NIEDERMAN, RABBI: We believe that now -- the parents and the child are now at peace in heaven.


SNOW: The rabbi we spoke with who was just so emotional there said this was not just a tragedy for two families, but that everyone here felt the pain.

And, as for the suspect, Wolf, he does have a prior criminal record. He spent time in jail for manslaughter dating back to 1987. The police say he was arrested just last week on a DWI charge in a case that is still pending -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What a heartbreaking story this is. Thanks so much, Mary, Mary Snow in Brooklyn for us.

Up next, the White House reacts to Dennis Rodman's controversial rather bizarre meeting with North Korea's leader.

Plus, we are getting new backlash right now for a retirement home worker accused of the unthinkable, letting a woman die.


911 OPERATOR: Is there anybody that is willing to help this lady and not let her die?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at this time.



BLITZER: He has been a basketball star. He's been on reality TV, but who would have ever pegged Dennis Rodman as a guest on one of the major Sunday talk shows?

It's yet another twist to the already bizarre story of Dennis Rodman's friendship with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Let's bring in Tom Foreman, who is taking a closer look.

This kind of stuff, we can't make up either.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, you can't. This is like something out of some kind of a comic novel. It's also illustrative in why you should stay in your own sport, because he is straight outside here and this thing took a very bad bounce.


FOREMAN (voice-over): Never much for diplomacy during his NBA days, Dennis Rodman now has the diplomatic world calling foul after he visited North Korea, partied with the secretive leader Kim Jong-Un.

DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I love him, the guy's awesome.

FOREMAN: And then came home to a jaw-dropping interview on ABC.

RODMAN: He's my friend. I don't condone what he does, but as far as a person, a person, he's my friend.

FOREMAN: That was the theme for Rodman even as the host, George Stephanopoulos, repeatedly asked about accusations of the North Korean regime starving, imprisoning and murdering its own people for many years.

RODMAN: He's a great guy. He's just a great guy if you sit down and talk to him.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: He's a great guy would puts 200,000 people in prison camps?

RODMAN: Well, you know, guess what, we do the same thing here. The kid's only 28 years old, 28. He's not his dad. He's not his grandfather. He loves basketball. Now, Obama loves basketball. Let's start there.

FOREMAN: At the White House, no word on President Obama's reaction to that overture, but it was made clear the administration is not amused.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: North Korea ought to be focusing on its own citizens and opportunities to improve their lives. And the United States has channels of communications directly with the DPRK and those are the channels we choose to employ. FOREMAN: Rodman told ABC, he'll go back to North Korea if he can and he took pains to pass on a key message from Kim Jong-Un.

RODMAN: He wants Obama to do one thing, call him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He wants a call from President Obama?

RODMAN: That's right. He told me that. He said: "If you can, Dennis, I don't want to do war. I don't want to do war."

He said that to me.


FOREMAN: A little housekeeping here.

Rodman was in North Korea for a documentary being made by VICE, which is working with HBO. HBO and CNN are both owned by Time Warner, just in the name of disclosure there.

Nonetheless, after that interview with George Stephanopoulos, all of his other interviews were canceled. And, Wolf, watching that interview, I just can't help but think I just think he really wasn't particularly aware of everything that was going on there, or he was aware and didn't pay enough attention to it.

BLITZER: You mean of the human rights record of North Korea?

FOREMAN: Yes, because you notice when Stephanopoulos asked him the questions, in many ways, he acted like he had never thought of it or had never been told it before and seemed caught completely flat- footed and just kept saying, he's a nice guy, but obviously that didn't fly so well.

BLITZER: Yes. He canceled a bunch of interviews after that, including one with us as well.


FOREMAN: Maybe he will still come around.

BLITZER: Maybe he will. We will see. Thanks very much, Tom Foreman.

Good report.

A mystery involving a wanted terrorist. Up next, there are new questions about whether the man behind the attack in Libya which left three Americans dead is actually dead himself.


BLITZER: It could be a major blow to al Qaeda and its affiliates, a significant victory in the war against terrorism. But did African forces really kill the man who planned January's deadly hostage siege in Algeria? Let's go live to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. She's working the story for us.

What do you know, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, at this hour, for intelligence services around the world, a key question, is a top al Qaeda operative dead?


STARR: Forty-eight hours after Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the veteran jihadist who masterminded the attack on an Algerian gas facility may have been killed, the U.S. is still trying to figure out if it's true. The announcement came from a commander in nearby Chad.

GEN. ZAKARIA NGOBONGUE, CHAD MILITARY SPOKESMAN (through translator): The temporary toll of the fighting is the following, several terrorists kill and among them leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

STARR: The U.S. is not sure yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have no confirmation of Belmokhtar's current status.

STARR: In an online extremist forum, one jihadist claimed Belmokhtar is still alive. If he was killed in the mountains of Northwestern Mali by forces from Chad, it's a significant blow to al Qaeda in North Africa.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), U.S. AIR FORCE: His death, if it is confirmed, will become really a watershed event in the fight against the terrorist efforts.

STARR: The Obama administration will not publicly say if it helped target Belmokhtar, but after the Algerian attack left dozens dead, including three Americans, he was a wanted man.

A senior official tells CNN the U.S. has significantly increased intelligence-sharing with both France and Chad. Reaper drones flying out of Niger are providing imagery. The U.S. is also sharing electronic intercepts of phone calls and Internet traffic.

Cedric Leighton, a retired Air Force intelligence expert, says al Qaeda in North Africa may eventually regroup, but for now it's good news.

LEIGHTON: Operationally, they will have a tougher time because he was basically their strategist. He was the one who put things together for them.


STARR: Now, the strategy to get Belmokhtar highlight U.S. efforts in Africa. Partner with nations in the region, train their military forces, share the best intelligence you can, but do everything to keep U.S. combat forces from having to get involved directly -- Wolf.

BLITZER: If you get definitive word on this terrorist, let us know. Barbara, thanks very much.

You have probably heard about this story, a newborn baby cured, cured of HIV in a Mississippi hospital. Up next, one of the world's leading experts on HIV-AIDS tells me why the fight may not be over.


BLITZER: Now to a stunning breakthrough, the treatment of HIV, doctors announcing they have cured a child who was born with the virus, something that has never been done before.

The question now, could this lead to a cure for more than 1,000 babies around the world who are born with HIV every single day?

Our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is joining us -- Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this baby's case was a total fluke, the result of a mother who didn't listen to doctors' orders.


COHEN (voice-over): It's a startling announcement. Doctors say they have cured a 2-year-old in Mississippi of HIV, the infection she'd had since birth gone.

ROWENA JOHNSTON, AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR AIDS RESEARCH: It's fantastic news from any number of angles, of course, that a child has been cured. But this actually happened really quite easily and quite inexpensively.

COHEN: The cure came about as kind a fluke. The baby was born to an HIV-positive mother and the baby was HIV-positive too. She was put on HIV drugs, but the mother, for some reason, stopped giving them to her when she was about 15 months old. She was taken back to the doctor just before her second birthday. And the doctor found the baby was HIV-free, even though she'd been off medication for five months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What fantastic news. This is something that I don't think anybody would have expected.

COHEN: The key to success might have been that the baby received relatively high doses of three HIV drugs soon after birth. Usually, HIV positive newborns get low doses of one or two drugs after birth. If other babies could be cured after just 15 months on drugs, that would be huge. Now HIV-positive babies take these drugs for life, and they can be toxic.

More studies need to be done, but this case might have inadvertently paved the way for other babies to have a brighter future. (on camera): Now, the baby isn't 100 percent HIV-free. She has little fragments of HIV DNA in her system, but doctors say it doesn't affect her at all. I spoke to her pediatrician. She said the baby is completely healthy and not taking HIV drugs -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And joining us now, Anthony Fauci. He's the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Fauci, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: So how significant is this development? Because there's a lot of talk out there that maybe we are on the verge of a cure.

FAUCI: Well, it's an important, as we say, proof of concept showing the possibility that under very special circumstances, such as the case with this child, that you might be able to cure an individual with HIV, particularly an infant who was recently infected, literally, within hours and then was treated within hours. That's the good news about it. That it's an important advance of showing the possibility.

The important caveat to this all is that this is a single case. So we've got to be very careful and conservative and not extrapolating this so that people would misinterpret and think, well, now we have a cure for HIV. Which we don't. This is a very special circumstance of treating a baby very early in the course of infection, literally within hours after being born and infected, probably during -- during the time of passing through the birth canal.

BLITZER: All right. So what's the next step in the process of seeing -- of moving on and taking advantage of this development to see if there can be some further progress?

FAUCI: Well, the next step would be to, first of all, to validate that, in fact, this is a reproducible phenomenon. And you've got to do that by situations that are very similar to what this baby and mother was in.

The mother was not treated at all. She had no prenatal care, which is not usually what you see in the developed world. So the baby was at very high risk. You see that scenario very frequently in the developing world, where 1,000 babies a day are born infected from their mothers. So the next step would be, with all the appropriate controlled clinical trials and all the ethical considerations, to try and see in a situation what mimics this, when you have a very high risk of infection, because you have a mother that's not treated, that you can actually replicate this.

BLITZER: Now, this clinical trial period that is apparently going to begin. How long does this usually take to determine if there is something really, really significant here worth exploring?

FAUCI: It will probably take years, Wolf, because first of all, you have to accumulate patients and make sure you do it in an appropriate, ethically sound way. And then you have to follow the babies for an extensive period of time to determine if you actually have cured them. Because what could happen is that it looks like the virus is gone, maybe hiding someplace for a year or two, and then all of a sudden, it reemerges and rebounds.

So if you really want to have a definitive study, we're likely talking years of clinical trial.

BLITZER: Is there one sort of study that would be used, just for infants, little, little kids, as opposed to adults in various stages of HIV/AIDS?

FAUCI: Well, that's what we're talking about right now, is infants. What we're talking about -- we don't want to confuse people. This is not directly applicable at this point to adults. Because most adults don't know that they're infected, and they go into treatment anywhere from several weeks to months to maybe even years after they've been infected, which means the virus has had a good opportunity to establish a very firm reservoir in the body, which makes it much more difficult to cure an individual.

What happened here in Mississippi is something that's much more applicable to babies that are born of infected mothers, where you do have the opportunity to treat them literally within hours of being infected. Those are the trials that we're talking about. It doesn't yet apply and maybe not ever apply to an adult who's been infected for years.

BLITZER: So what I hear you saying, also, is potentially, this would have so much more of a greater impact, let's say, in Africa than here in the developed world, let's say, like the United States. Is that what you're saying?

FAUCI: Well, that's true. The opportunity to have that impact, because we have pretty good preventive measures here. Certainly anywhere between 100 and 200 children a year in the United States are infected from their mother. However, in the whole world globally, particularly in the developing world such as the sub-Saharan Africa, there are 1,000 infants infected per day.

So the opportunity to have an impact there, both to prevent infection, as well as to possibly cure babies who are infected, that's where you want to go if you want to prove that this is something that's worldly applicable.

BLITZER: Have you had a chance to speak with the doctor in Mississippi who cured this little child?

FAUCI: No, Wolf, I haven't had the chance to speak to her yet, but obviously, I've been -- we're looking at the data, and we know exactly what we're now, I'm sure -- we'll have the opportunity to discuss it with them.

We did something that what we call a gutsy call. She decided to treat the baby aggressively before she knew definitively that the baby was infected. Now, there's a risk benefit to that, because if the baby is not infected, then you've exposed the baby to a very aggressive regimen when the baby wasn't infected.

As it turned out, she made the right call, because the baby was, indeed, infected and it looks like she may have cured the baby by being aggressive in the treatment right from the beginning.

BLITZER: Dr. Fauci, one of the world's great experts on HIV/AIDS. Dr. Fauci, as usual, thanks for helping us better appreciate what's going on.

FAUCI: Happy to do it, Wolf.

BLITZER: An elderly woman denied CPR. As she fights for her life, the nurse calls 911. And what happened next is shocking.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Is there anybody that works there that's willing to do it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are we just going to wait? We're going to let this lady die?



BLITZER: We're learning more about the shocking death of an 87- year-old woman inside a California retirement home. The staff refused to give her CPR, despite desperate pleas from a 911 operator who recorded it all. CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Bakersfield, California. He has the recordings. Tell our viewers what happened.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It is shocking, to say the least, what happened here. And that 911 dispatcher, goes out to her that she did an incredible job under really extraordinary circumstances.

Bakersfield Police now saying that they are investigating this incident to see if there's any chance that there was criminal wrong- doing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to get CPR started. That's not enough. OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't do CPR at this facility.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, then hand the phone. Just hand the phone to the passerby. You can't do it, I need -- hand it to the passerby. I'll have her do it. Or if you've got any citizens there, I'll have them do it. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Beyond shocking, a nurse at this independent care facility for the elderly flat-out refuses to help 87- year-old Lorraine Bayliss when she collapsed on the dining-room floor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there anybody that works there that's willing to do it?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are we just going to wait -- we're going to let this lady die?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, that's why we're calling 911.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't wait -- she can't wait right now. She is stopping breathing.

MARQUEZ: The 911 operator practically begs the woman at the facility, who identifies herself as a nurse, to either help or find someone who can.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anybody there can do CPR. Give them the phone, please. This woman is not breathing enough, she's going to die if we don't get this started. Do you understand?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand. I am a nurse. But I cannot have our other senior citizens who don't know CPR do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will instruct them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're in a dining room.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will instruct them. Is there anyone there...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I don't understand why you're not willing to help this patient.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, great. Then I'll walk you through it all. EMS takes the liability for this, Colleen. I am happy to help you. OK? This is even EMS protocol.

MARQUEZ: John Weber was a firefighter here for 21 years. He says his department responded often to Glenwood Gardens.

JOHN WEBER, FIREFIGHTER: The calls that we would go on would range from people falling to full arrest, where someone's not doing it. The calls where someone just would fall down, they would -- had a policy where it was hands off. They would not help them.

MARQUEZ: Management told firefighters it was a matter of liability; not wanting their employees injured helping someone else.

The Tennessee company, Brookdale (ph) Living, that owns the Bakersfield facility said the woman who called 911 was hired to be a resident services director, not a nurse and that the Glenwood Gardens facility is an independent living facility and is not licensed to provide medical care to any residents.

The facility says it followed its protocol by calling emergency services and staying with the patient until emergency personnel arrived.


MARQUEZ: Now, Glendale (ph) Gardens -- Glenwood Gardens said that it is conducting an internal investigation to see if its employees followed all protocols, but at the moment, they're saying all their protocols were followed and this is exactly how they wanted it to go -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What a story this is. Miguel, thanks very much. Update us on what you get as part of this investigation. Appreciate it very much.

Up next, cardinals gathered for the selection of a new pope, but the upcoming conclave is already marred by accusations of sexual abuse against the elite of the Catholic clergy.


BLITZER: Senator Robert Menendez has steadfastly denied claims he partied with prostitutes in Latin America. Now we may have some important backing. Our crime and justice correspondent, Joe Johns, has got some new information coming in. What's going on?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is the latest twist in the story of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey has been dogged by allegations first released by conservative media outlets that he patronized prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. He's vehemently denied those claims, and FBI agents have said they haven't been able to find evidence to support them.

Now, there appears to be new support for the senator's denials. An escort who appeared in a video claiming she sex with Senator Menendez is now walking that story back in court documents and during a news conference today. The woman said she was recruited by a lawyer to make those claims after reading a script and that she never had sex with Senator Menendez at all. She said she was videotaped surreptitiously and may have been led to believe that the script she'd been given had something to do with a divorce case.

Senator Menendez's office had no comment when contacted by CNN this evening. Questions have been raised about the senator's relationship with Dr. Solomon Melgen, an eye doctor from West Palm Beach who contributed to Menendez's campaign and took Menendez on three trips with his private plane in 2010. Menendez, of course, had to reimburse the doctor's company about $58,000 for travel after all of this came to light.

Now again an escort who said on videotape that she had sex with Senator Robert Menendez apparently is recanting that story.

BLITZER: So he was presumably, if this is true, falsely accused, but he suffered politically, obviously, as a result of all this.

JOHNS: He certainly has suffered politically. Clearly, when you look at the polls there at the state of New Jersey, he suffered a precipitous drop, something like 15 points. And he's got a lot of recovery to do. There are still, of course, questions about his relationship with the doctor.

BLITZER: You have to keep us up to date. Thank you, Joe.

A major winter storm is headed toward the East Coast right now. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM. What's the latest, Lisa?


Well, a monster storm is in the Midwest, and now Washington is bracing for a blast of winter when most of us already were looking forward to spring. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele joins us now from the CNN weather center with more.

So we are going to get hit with this here in Washington? Is that right?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, METEOROLOGIST: That's right. Finally, we're going to see some snow in Washington. It's only had about an inch and a half or so the entire season, almost 13 inches below average. So they're certainly due for some, and this will be, on Wednesday, the biggest snow thus far.

Here's a look. This is the area of low pressure. Right now, it's actually in the Dakotas. It will find you, Washington, but it's actually right now even around Denver. I-70 through Vail, closed. A 30-car pile-up and blizzard conditions. Because of the same area of low pressure, so that's where it is now.

What we're going to see essentially is a stripe of snow. This low will move south and east and drop snow as it goes. It will bring snow and some very windy conditions, thus the blizzard conditions we're seeing now for some areas.

Six to 12 inches tomorrow in Minneapolis begins late tonight through the day tomorrow. For Cedar Rapids, Chicago, 6 to 9 for you. So this is where the trouble will be tomorrow. Chicago, Indianapolis, 12 to 18 inches.

And then what's going to happen, the models are kind of split on this. We're going to watch the snow drop. For sure we'll see the mountains through the mountains, through the Appalachians. Potentially maybe 10-plus inches of snow, but what happens is that area of low pressure right now in the Dakotas drops south and east, becomes an area of low pressure, developing off the coast, and that potentially, where it goes, its track and how much cold air are the two caveats we're still a little unsure of.

But Washington, at least, though, 5 to maybe 10 inches of snow for you on Wednesday. The heaviest, though, in the mountains -- Lisa.

SYLVESTER: Yes. I know what people are wondering in this area? Is what did I do with the sled? Got time to pull out the sled.

STEELE: That's right.

SYLVESTER: Thanks, Alexandra.

STEELE: At least before the cherry blossoms have hit, we got some snow.

SYLVESTER: That's right, at least one time. All right, thanks, Alexandra.

In other news, the Vatican acknowledged today that Benedict SVI knew about the sex allegations against the Scottish cardinal before he stepped down as pope. It's another cloud over the church as cardinals gather in Rome today. They're deciding when the hold the conclave that will choose the next pope.

More than 140 cardinals met today, but not all of them will get to vote on the next leader of the Catholic Church. A Vatican spokesman says a new pope could be in place before March 15. That would give him a little more than a week to prepare for Palm Sunday.

And while Michelle Obama is encouraging Americans to exercise, she is certainly walking the walk or dancing the dance, as the case may be.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your favorite dance move?

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: It's obviously the Dougie, you know? Can you guys do a little Dougie? Raise the roof is a good one. There we go. We've got the Brewer students doing a little Dougie. Teach me how to Dougie. Come on, all are participants. Kelly, we need everybody. Do a little Dougie. Oh, yes. There we go. We're Dougieing all over the land.


SYLVESTER: All right. That was the first lady during a Google hang out, and this was her on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" in a sketch called "The Evolution of Mom Dancing" that has racked up more than 14 million hits on YouTube. There she goes.

And of course, I know just like Mrs. Obama, Wolf, you are a big fan of the Dougie. But I guess that's pretty obvious. There you go. There you go. BLITZER: Teach me how to Dougie, my good friend Doug E. Fresh. A great guy. There he is at the BET Soul Train awards, where he actually did teach me how to do the Dougie, very poorly, I must say, but I had a great, great time.

SYLVESTER: Yes. And you know he was just here in Washington, too. I saw him perform last night.

BLITZER: How did he do? He's amazing.

SYLVESTER: Fantastic show. Fantastic. It was for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. So that was a treat, Wolf.

BLITZER: Doug E. Fresh, great guy. All right. Thanks very much.

Erin Burnett is going "OUTFRONT" today on mental illness linked to the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre. Erin, what's going on?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, we're going to be talking to a woman who is testifying in Washington. She had written a blog, "I am Adam Lanza's mother." Her son at one point threatened to kill her and kill himself. She's been struggling with mental illness in that family, and she joins us "OUTFRONT" to talk about that and why she wants to be the face of this issue across the country.

Plus, Wolf, Muqtar al-Muqtar, is he really dead? I was talking to sources there today. We have some more information for you on that.

And our essay tonight on the kicker, a woman who applied to be the kicker. We'll we've got a prettystrong point of view on how that went down, and there is someone to blame. It's not her.

Back to you.

BLITZER: Did not do a great job, but she's got a huge future, I suspect.

Are you doing a little Dougie, too? There she is. Can you teach...

BURNETT: No, I saw you doing it, Wolf. You were so good.

BLITZER: You know, I'm going to -- I've got to practice a little bit more. You and I, we're going to practice. We're going to practice together. We're going to get Doug E. Fresh to help us.

BURNETT: That would be fun.

BLITZER: No, no. Enough, enough. Doug E.

All right. Earlier, we told you about what's going on with Dennis Rodman's post-North Korean antics. Up next, Jeanne Moos with what you probably didn't see in The Worm's return to the United States. That's his nickname, The Worm. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Dennis Rodman's return to America almost as bizarre as his trip to North Korea. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just when it seemed...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dennis Rodman was embarrassing.

MOOS: ... like it couldn't get any weirder...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the week's most surreal encounter.

MOOS: ... than Dennis Rodman watching basketball with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a great sitcom that would make.

MOOS: ... this happened. Wearing sunglasses and a jacket covered in currency, Rodman went on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," praising Kim Jong-un.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: A great guy who puts 200,000 people in prison camps?

RODMAN: Well, you know, guess what? There's a reason how we do the same thing here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that a "Saturday Night Live" skit?

MOOS: No, this is the "Saturday Night Live skit.


MOOS: Though pitting reality against the skit...

MOYNIHAN: I love this guy!

RODMAN: I love him. I love him. The guy is awesome.

MOOS: Reality won.

(on camera): It was a mesmerizing interview in which Dennis Rodman called George Stephanopoulos dude.

RODMAN: You know what, dude?

MOOS: And engaged in a lot of guesswork.

RODMAN: Guess what?

Guess what?

Guess what?

Guess what, what I did -- what I did was history. Was history against what?

MOOS (voice-over): Imagine the North Korean interpreter trying to make sense of this interview.

(on camera): Now, there is at least one guy who came to Rodman's defense.

DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL (via phone): Maybe Dennis is a lot better than what we have.

MOOS (voice-over): Donald Trump was dissing the Obama administration's diplomatic skills.

Rodman just returned to Trump's "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice," where he was picked last when two teams were formed.

RODMAN: I was the last one picked. It didn't bother me.

MOOS: Kim Jong-un sure doesn't bother him.

RODMAN: He's very humble.

And he's so honest.

His country like him. Not like him, love him.

MOOS: Cartoonist Steve Breen drew both of them thinking in unison, "Standing next to him makes me appear less crazy."

From North Korea, Rodman tweeted, "Maybe I'll run into the 'Gangnam Style' dude while I'm here," which prompted the "Gangnam Style" to tweet back, "I'm from #South, man." South, not North Korea.

PSY, RAPPER: Gangnam style.

MOOS: This is diplomacy, Rodman style.

RODMAN: Guess what? Guess what? Don't hate me.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN...

RODMAN: Guess what? Don't hate me.

MOOS: New York.


BLITZER: Can't make this up. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.