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Arming the West Coast; Portman's Change of Heart; March Madness Workout; North Korean Threat; Jodi Arias on the Stand

Aired March 16, 2013 - 06:00   ET


JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is EARLY START WEEKEND.

The threat of nuclear attack against the U.S. is putting the West Coast on alert. The Pentagon makes a surprise announcement about its new strategy.

SUSAN HENDRIX, CNN ANCHOR: Also, after marathon testimony, Jodi Arias is finally off the stand. But will her 62-second sob end up costing her, her life.

JOHNS: Ever feel crazy or just a little mad? March Madness has arrived and we'll show you how to prepare for it.

It's Saturday, March 16th. I'm Joe Johns, this morning in for Victor Blackwell.

HENDRIX: Good to see you, Joe.

JOHNS: Good to be here.

HENDRIX: Good morning to you. I'm Susan Hendrix, in today for Randi Kaye.

And we start with threats from North Korea, forcing a change in U.S. national security. Now the Pentagon has now announced a major expansion in missile defense.

JOHNS: New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the announcement on plans to put more interceptor missiles along the West Coast. CNN Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence has more.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Susan, Joe, the Pentagon plans to spend up to $1 billion to beef up its missile defense, but the big question is, will the missiles actually work.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): If a nuclear missile is ever fired at the United States, this is the best hope to stop it. Thirty interceptor missiles, which can be launched from ground silos in Alaska and California. Now the Pentagon is deploying up to 14 more.

CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The reason that we're doing what we're doing, and the reason we're advancing our program here for homeland security, is to not take any chances, is to stay ahead of the threat.

LAWRENCE: North Korea tested a long-range missile in December. It conducted its third nuclear test in February. And just this month threatened a preemptive nuclear strike on the U.S. That caught the Pentagon's attention.

JAMES MILLER, UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR POLICY: North Korea's shrill public pronouncements underscore the need for the U.S. to continue to take prudent steps to defeat any future North Korean ICBM.

LAWRENCE: But as far back as the State of the Union speech, President Obama said the U.S. would --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Strengthen our own missile defense and lead the world in taking firm actions in response to these threats.

LAWRENCE: But Republican congressional sources say the president's actions has been anything but firm. In 2011, the administration mothballed one Alaskan missile field, arguing intelligence showed there wasn't enough of a threat. A short-sighted move say the congressional sources. Quote, "the intel didn't change, this is right where we expected North Korea to be."

And that is in possession of a missile that could travel nearly 5,000 miles, in theory, since North Korea has never successfully launched a long range ICBM.

STEVEN PIFER, DIR., BROOKINGS ARMS CONTROL INITIATIVE: I think what you see here is mainly a political signal to North Korea that no one's going to be intimidated by their December launch and then the subsequent nuclear test.

LAWRENCE: The existing interceptors have had technological problems and haven't performed as planned. The Pentagon is testing a new missile and won't buy the additional 14 until officials are sure they can fly.

JOE CIRNCIONE, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: We spend $10 million a year on missile defense. We spend about $250 billion over the last few decades. We still don't -- aren't anywhere close to a system that can actually protect the United States from a determined adversary. Yes, I'm saying we're wasting our money.


LAWRENCE: The Pentagon expects to have the 14 new missiles ready to go by the year 2017. And officials are also scouting locations for a potential third launch site on the East Coast of the United States -- Joe, Susan.

JOHNS: One other note on North Korea and the threat. The Yunhop (ph) news agency in South Korea reports that the North fired off a pair of short-range missiles into the East Sea. This test wouldn't be a threat to the U.S., but it's a very real threat for South Korea and another illustration of the rising tensions in the Korean Pennsylvania. HENDRIX: In just a few hours from now, lawyers will be back in a Steubenville, Ohio, courtroom in the case against two high school football players accused of raping a 16-year-old girl who witnesses say was drunk. Three teens testified yesterday after being granted immunity, saying they witnessed Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, sexually abuse the girl during a series of end of summer parties. This occurred last year.

Now, one of those witnesses admitted to recording a cell phone video of Mays sexually abusing the girl in a car while driving from one party to another. We do want to warn you, this next picture may be disturbing to you. We're about to show it to you right now.

Another witness admitted to taking a cell phone picture of the girl naked in a basement, then showing it to friends. Neither of the accused teens actually had sex with the girls, but any form of presentation constitutes rape under Ohio law. Now, a judge could issue a verdict in the case by tomorrow. We're going to have a live report from Steubenville ahead the 8:00 Eastern.

Lawmakers in North Dakota have just approved what could be some of the most restrictive abortion bills in the nation if they are signed into law. Now, one bill bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is normally about six weeks.

The only exception would be if the pregnancy endangers the mother's life. No exception for rape or insist. Another controversial bill bans abortion on the basis of gender or a genetic defect. That caused a lot of debate. Listen here.


MARGARET SITTE (R), NORTH DAKOTA STATE SENATE: Is it right to destroy life because of the perception that a person may not meet someone else's standards as being acceptable to live?

JOHN WARNER (D), NORTH DAKOTA STATE SENATE: I cannot think of anything more cruel than for the state to require that first pregnancy to been carried to term and watch my grandchild die on the delivery table.


HENDRIX: The ACLU is calling on North Dakota's Republican governor to veto that bill.

JOHNS: We just learned that Pope Francis is planning to meet with Benedict XVI next Saturday. It will be their first meeting since Francis was elected. Right now he's speaking with the media in Vatican City. He's expected to lay out his global vision for the church and answer some questions. Taking a look at that picture there. He is also expected to be asked a few questions about Argentina in the days years and years ago when the junta controlled the country. And we'll see what the pope has to say.

Back here at home, the Dow Jones longest winning streak in nearly 17 years has come to an end. After 10 days of gain, the Dow closed Friday slightly lower after a report showing consumer confidence falling. The index had been experiencing its best run since 1996. The S&P and the Nasdaq also fell on Friday, but the Dow ended the week higher.

HENDRIX: It's been a good run.

JOHNS: Absolutely.

HENDRIX: To politics now. And a major gathering of conservatives in Maryland. It is the Conservative Political Action Conference or CPAC.

JOHNS: It's the annual conference where conservatives lay out the groundwork for the future. This year they've got their work cut out for them following the 2012 election loss. So, who do they turn to for advice? How about Mitt Romney?


MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need the leadership and the ideas and the vision of these governors. We particularly need, by the way, to hear from the governors from the blue and purple states, because those are the states we're going to have to win to be able to get back -- people like McDonnell, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Suzana Martinez, Chris Christie, Brian Sandoval. These are the people we've got to listen to and make sure their message is heard loud and clear across the country.


JOHNS: A sure distinguished list. Interesting thing about the list, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were not invited to CPAC.

HENDRIX: Well, Joe, back to who was there, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre, who launched into a full-throated attack on Democrats and gun control advocates. But we start with his take on crime control. Here he is.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, CEO, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: The one thing a violent rapist deserves to face is a good woman with a gun.

You know, they can call me crazy or anything else they want, but NRA's nearly 5 million members, and America's 100 million gun owners will not back down. Not ever. I promise you that.

Mr. Vice President, and you feel the same way when I'm going to say it, for four decades you have enjoyed the armed protection of Capitol Police and Secret Service officers, all while trying to destroy the Second Amendment rights for the rest of us. So when it comes to that right, sir, you keep your advice, we'll keep our guns.


JOHNS: Red meat there. The final act of the night was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. He talked about changing the perception of the party and becoming more inclusive so that all Americans are represented. He also talked about this old picture tweeted out by our own Peter Hamby. Yes, that's him standing by his dad sporting the mullet.


JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Sometimes in our lives we even get to cross the thin line between humbling and downright humiliating. A couple of weeks ago, Peter Hamby of CNN tweeted a picture of me from 1970 with what appeared to be a catcher's mitt on my head.


HENDRIX: It was in style, wasn't it?

JOHNS: Yes, absolutely. I mean it looked pretty good for the day.


JOHNS: Actually for the day.

All right, we'll have much more on CPAC and the Republicans throughout the morning.

Also, Republican heavyweight Rob Portman's shocking change of heart.

HENDRIX: Well, he now says he supports same-sex marriage because of his son. So what do his colleagues on the right think about this? We're going to hear from them. Stay with us.


HENDRIX: Welcome back. A beautiful shot o the Capitol there. Good morning to you, Washington. It's expected to be 47 degrees today with light rain. And, Joe, you just flew in from there, right?

JOHNS: It's still winter. Yes, it's still winter in Washington and it's spring in Atlanta. It's unbelievable. The allergies are already hitting me.

HENDRIX: They really are. I'm feeling it too. I thought we were supposed to have an early spring. Not so much.

JOHNS: Not so much. Not everywhere, anyway.

HENDRIX: I know.

Well, it's one of the most talked about issues in American politics, same-sex marriage. Democrats, including the president, support same- sex marriage, but Republicans, as a party, are dead set against that.

JOHNS: But over the last few weeks, that's been changing. Several big name conservatives have come out in support of same-sex marriage. And this week, sitting Ohio Senator Rob Portman joined the chorus saying he was swayed by his gay son. He spoke exclusively about the decision with CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Changing your opinion is one thing and certainly a big deal. But then are you going to take it to the next level and be activist on it? Are you going to go home to Ohio and say, let's change this state law and get rid of the ban on gay marriage, which is probably one of the -- one of the most sweeping in the country?

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: Well, people are going to know what my position is. But, as you know, I've never really been involved in this issue one way or the other. I have voted consistent with, again, my beliefs at the time.

BASH: But does your son and the new experience with your son change that? Will you be active on it?

PORTMAN: You know I'm -- I'm kind of an economic policy wonk. That's why I got in this business. That's what I've always focused on. So, how to get the economy moving, get jobs back. And I spent, you know, hours this week in the budget committee. I'll be going back soon. The budget's on the floor next week. And those are -- will continue to be the issues that I'll put my primary focus on.

BASH: And what do you say to a gay constituent in Ohio who says, I'm so glad that he's changed his position, and why did it take him learning that he has a gay son? Why didn't he, as my representative, care about my rights before -- before that?

PORTMAN: Well, I would say that, you know, I've had a change of heart based on a personal experience. That's certainly true. Dick Cheney, I think, had a similar experience. I've talked to him, by the way, about this. And, you know, it want' an issue I had given much thought to prior to that. Maybe I should have. But, you know, the reason I got into public service was because of my concern on the economic and budget issues. That's always been my focus.

BASH: You just walked into the very last question I promise I will ask, which was going to be about Dick Cheney. You said you did talk to him. Did you call him for advice because he had a situation very similar?

PORTMAN: Yes. I mean, I spoke to him personally. I actually met with him. And --

BASH: What did he tell you?

PORTMAN: Rob, do what's in your heart, you know. I mean, he was -- he was a good person to talk to because he also was surprised by the news. In that case, you know, his wonderful daughter, who he loves very much. And it forced him to rethink the issue too. And over time he changed his view on it. And I followed his advice. You know, I followed my heart.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BASH: Portman told me he spent a lot of time with his pastor and even went back to reread the passage in Leviticus, in the old testament, which many Christians cite as their source for opposition to homosexuality. And after a lot of soul searching, he said he decided that supporting the institution of marriage for everyone was what's paramount. And after the news broke, Will Portman, his son, sent out a simple, but powerful tweet. He said, "especially proud of my dad today" -- Joe.

JOHNS: Dana Bash, thanks for that.

Senator Portman's decision really sparked reaction across the political world. Here's what some other people are saying about his decision.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to second guess Rob Portman. He's an old personal friend. I think when you have somebody in your immediate family who comes in, you have three choices. You can say, I believe in my principles so much, I'm kicking you out. You can say, I still believe in my principles, but I love you. Or you can say, gee, I love you so much, I'm changing my principles. Rob picked the third path. That's his prerogative.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: To me I -- family values is all about loving all of God's children and I am glad that Senator Portman has recognized that.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R) UTAH: I love the Portman family. I think that he's very heartfelt. He's always sincere. I wish him nothing but the best. But, you know, he believes this and he's sincere about it. And more power to him for that.

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a very personal decision and I -- you know, I understand. I mean Dick Cheney went through very much the same thing. And so when it -- when it involves your family, I certainly understand the dynamics of the family, and, you know, Rob came down with that decision. I don't think, in my mind, it doesn't alter what the right thing is for America.


HENDRIX: Well, for much more news from inside and outside the beltway, we want to remind you that CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper has a new show. It's called "The Lead with Jake Tapper." It makes its debut this coming Monday, March 18th, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

So, are you tired of the same old workout routine at the gym or at home. Up next, our fitness expert Desiree, seen right here, will show you how to simply pick up a basketball and get a new workout in.


HENDRIX: We are adding a little March Madness to your workout this morning. Even if you don't play basketball -- Joe, you have the height advantage, I think.

JOHNS: That's right, but I don't play basketball that much. Our fitness and nutrition expert, Desiree Nathanson, is here to show us how to turn March Madness into muscle madness. All right, so --

HENDRIX: All right, let's see.

JOHNS: Right. Playing basketball, obviously, is a pretty good workout. You know, jumping and running and all that stuff. But you're saying you can take the ball and just use it as an exercise device in and of itself.


HENDRIX: Even if it's light, because we were talking earlier about a medicine ball, which has some weight on it.

JOHNS: Right.

NATHANSON: Exactly. Well, I mean, it's basically a light medicine ball. So you can use it for balance and strength exercises. So one of my favorite exercises, the plank, can be done with the basketball. So we're going to get down here.

HENDRIX: Oh, yes, I've done that. But with a basketball, though.

NATHANSON: And you can just hold this position. And then if you're fancy --

JOHNS: A push-up.

NATHANSON: Oh, you want me to do a push-up. OK.

JOHNS: Oh, now see, that's tough. I can't do that.

HENDRIX: There you go.

NATHANSON: And then you can do variations like that with the ball. So just any type of plank position.


NATHANSON: You can also do some fun jump squats with it.

JOHNS: Right.

HENDRIX: So you can do this if you're a beginner?


HENDRIX: If you're not used to working out because of its weight. It's a light weight.

NATHANSON: Yes. Exactly. But even a beginner, a really good exercise for a beginner would be to do a Russian twist. So just get down on the ground and you've got this light medicine ball that you're still doing your activities with.

JOHNS: Right.

HENDRIX: I feel bad watching her work out, don't you. But we're not dressed for it.

JOHNS: But it's nowhere -- yes. Yes, yes.

NATHANSON: Yes, no, you're not.

JOHNS: But there's really no weight to it, so you're just -- you're not getting like the anarobic (ph) --

NATHANSON: Well, there's a little bit of weight. I mean its -- it weighs something. So you're going to have a little bit of resistance. So you're still going to be getting some strength training in. and if you want to get your cardio in, this is fun.

JOHNS: There you go.

NATHANSON: I think this is how basketball players get punished if they don't do something right on the court, but ball up, don't let it down --

JOHNS: Right.

NATHANSON: And then high knees. This is really fun.

JOHNS: Yes. And after about two or three minutes of that, you pass out.

NATHANSON: Yes, two to three minutes. Oh, 30 seconds.

JOHNS: Sure.

HENDRIX: So you could do this at home, obviously?

NATHANSON: Yes. Definitely.

HENDRIX: You don't have to head to the gym to work out. And you could even do it in the office. You have a lunch break. You could do it there.

NATHANSON: While you're watching your teams this weekend and all of the conference tournaments.

JOHNS: Right. Pass it around.

NATHANSON: And then next week when the big dance starts.


HENDRIX: And you were saying you were actually on the jump squad for the Hawks?

NATHANSON: Yes. HENDRIX: Some skill.

NATHANSON: I did two games and it was the most frightening thing ever, jumping on that trampoline and coming this close to the rim.

JOHNS: Really? Well, did you ever miss?

NATHANSON: I honestly can't remember because I never looked to see if I made it.

HENDRIX: That's a good answer. That's a good answer.

Oh, wait, now Joe's showing me up. I need a box here to stand on.

NATHANSON: I used to be able to do this, but, oh, no. Oh, I got it for a second.

JOHNS: Yes, I know, I can't do it anymore. I'm still going to try those push-ups, though, that looks --

NATHANSON: Yes, those are great.

JOHNS: That looks really hard.

HENDRIX: Do you find that this is the time of year that people kind of slack off because they make their resolutions in January. Now we're in March. Is this the time where we really need to check ourselves again?

NATHANSON: Well, they kind of -- so they pick up in January. They kind of go down in February. And then March picks up again because of spring break.

HENDRIX: Oh, yes.

NATHANSON: So this is spring break time. So it will pick up again. And then while they're on spring break, they kind of drink a lot and eat a lot. And then when they get back, they're slacking. So we've got to keep that going during spring break. So just keep your basketball -- I mean you can do all sorts of stuff.

JOHNS: Right. The hard part, of course --

NATHANSON: So you're doing it.

JOHNS: Yes, is the holiday.


JOHNS: And that's when you're sitting on the couch watching basketball instead.

NATHANSON: So get up while you're watching basketball. Every time your team scores, get up and cheer with the cheerleaders and dance with the dancers.

HENDRIX: Oh, that's some good advice. Desiree, thank you. NATHANSON: Yes, thank you all.

JOHNS: All right. Thanks.

HENDRIX: We're going to have her work out all morning long.

JOHNS: Yes, exactly.

NATHANSON: Yes, let's go.

HENDRIX: Thanks so much.

JOHNS: Raising the threat level. North Korea's posturing leads to a major change for the U.S. and a planned expansion of the missile defense system.

Also, talk about a rough trip. This little guy was supposed to travel with his family to Phoenix, but you will never guess where he ended up.


HENDRIX: It is 29 minutes past the hour. Welcome back. Hope you're having a great Saturday so far. I'm Susan Hendrix, in for Randi Kaye.

JOHNS: And I'm Joe Johns, in for Victor Blackwell. Starting -- thanks again for starting your day with us.

Here are five stories we're watching this morning.

Rapper, Lil Wayne is recovering after having a seizure. His record label and publicist fought back against reports that he was in a medically induced coma and near death. Lil Wayne even tweeted last night saying "I am good, everybody, thanks for the prayers and love." His friends and fellow rapper Drake came to visit him in L.A. and set up a vigil outside his hospital room.

HENDRICKS: Now to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where two people are dead after trying to rescue a 6-year-old boy from a waterfall. The boy fell into the Big Sioux River yesterday. His 16-year-old sister and a 28- year-old man jumped in after him. The boy survived. The crews found his sister's body. They are now looking for the man's body.

JOHNS: Moments ago, Pope Francis met with members of the media for the first time in Vatican City. He said he picked the name Francis because St. Francis of Assisi was a man of poverty and peace, and said he wants a poor church for the poor. We also learned this morning that Francis will meet with Benedict XVI next Saturday for the first time since his election.

HENDRICKS: And today is the last day of the Conservative Political Action Conference. Mitt Romney offered his advice for conservatives yesterday, saying they needed to learn from his mistakes. Sarah Palin speaks today at noon.

JOHNS: The state of Maryland is preparing to ban the death penalty. Yesterday Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley said he will sign the bill into law after it passes the state legislature. He says the death penalty does not detour criminals and is more expensive than life in prison. Maryland has executed only five people since 1976. One prosecutor is promising to challenge the new law.

HENDRICKS: The Pentagon is taking threats from North Korea very seriously, to the tune of a $1 billion expansion of the missile defense system on the West Coast.

JOHNS: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says it's necessary for national security. Our Tom Foreman has more on the threat and how the defense system is supposed to work.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Pentagon is acknowledging that North Korea is becoming more of a global threat because of the speed at which it is developing its missile program and its nuclear weapon program.

So how does the military want to respond to that? At the front line, by going to the Pacific Ocean, where the fear is that North Korea on its best day might be able to launch a missile that would go all the way out to hit some parts of the United States. What are they going to do about that?

First of all, they want more radar support. They want a new base in Japan here to be tracking early on what is happening. They want to beef up missiles in Alaska and California, and of course they want steady monitoring from ships at sea, from airplanes overhead, and from satellites, all watching to see if North Korea is going to launch at some point our way.

How would that work? Well, as North Korea launches a missile, all those early warning systems would send the coordinates of the flight back to these response missiles, which would then fire and go up and try to hit it and take it out. Ideally, they would like to hit it early on or in the middle, and as last resort, way over here. But what they want is numerous shots at it so they can stop it, that's really the goal.

And they have to have numerous shots, because this is all still fairly new technology and it's not all entirely reliable. As I said, we don't know that the North Koreans at this point can really get a missile to go this far, but our ability to intercept it and stop it is also a tricky, tricky thing to pull off.

Look at the things we would use for this. There is a two-stage missile. This is what we would launch out of Alaska or California, and it would release something like this, this is called an exoatmospheric kill vehicle.

It's made by Raytheon, and you see it's got those little propulsion units around it there. It also has an infrared guidance system in the nose. And that, when it gets released, locks in on the nuclear warhead in this missile, and it will guide this in to actually smash into that at about 17,000 miles an hour, and tear it apart. It does not explode.

This is about as big as a refrigerator. It just smashes into it and tears it apart. You can imagine how difficult that is to pull off. But this is the technology that we are trying to perfect so that we can stop the North Korean technology if and when they ever get it perfected and actually can threaten the U.S. mainland.


HENDRICKS: An amazing good visual from Tom Foreman, we thank him for that.

And we're going to have much more on this story. At the top of the hour, General Spider Marks will be here to talk more about the realities of the North Korean threat and also the capabilities of the missile defense system. Joe.

JOHNS: In Florida, three people are dead after their small plane crashed in a parking lot. It happened yesterday in Ft. Lauderdale. Authorities say the twin engine plane went down shortly after takeoff. The crash shook nearby buildings and sparked a fire that engulfed several parked cars. No one on the ground was hurt.

The Soyuz spacecraft is safe at home today after 144 days at the space station. The three astronauts aboard landed in Kazakhstan several hours ago. The crew, including two Russians and one American, orbited the earth 2300 times and travelled nearly 61 million miles. The spacecraft had been scheduled to land on Thursday, but bad weather conditions forced a delay.

HENDRICKS: You know those astronauts are not the only ones heading home. Carnival Cruise Lines was forced to fly passengers home from St. Martin on Friday after its ship named Dream turned into a bit of a nightmare. Parts of the ship lost power, some toilets stopped working.

And that was not the only ship having a rough week. The Legend had some technical problems that affected its sailing speed, and the Elation had to be pulled into port by a tugboat as well because it was having problems with its steering. And who can forget the Triumph dubbed "the cruise from hell" when it was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico just one month ago?

In Colorado, wildfire season is off to an early start now. Fifty people are being told to evacuate as a fire in a state park northwest of Denver pushes towards their homes. Gusty winds and drought conditions are not helping. The fire could spread fast. A second, smaller one is burning nearby as well. No word yet on how they started. Last year was one of the worst wildfire seasons on record.

To the mid-Atlantic, where it's shaping up to be a rainy Saturday. Meanwhile for their south record high temperatures and spring fever is setting in, and we're so glad it's here, almost.

Let me go to meteorologist Alexandra Steele in the CNN Weather Center for a look at your weekend forecast. Alexandra, looks pretty good. At least in the Southeast. ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, gosh, it's a split decision. I am all revved up from all my plank pushups I have been practicing from Desiree earlier this morning. You know, actually, the wildfires you were just showing video of, they will have a little rain today, so hopefully that can quell some of the action, because tomorrow the winds will pick up in Colorado to exacerbate the fire, so have to keep an eye on that.

Here is the big picture. Kind of a split decision. We have got a quickly-moving system, so we're going to watch it move through along I-80 with some snow showers, no real accumulation, kind of zipping through, and in the mid-Atlantic and western Maryland and also West Virginia, some thunderstorms, believe it or not, and then that rain moves through Washington, D.C.

It's the final winter weekend today. It is going to be cold in the northeast and mid-Atlantic, but very spring-like in the South. So here is the deal. 10 degrees below average today, dry in Boston, and New York 10 degrees below, and Pittsburgh and Washington as well and into Virginia, but here in the Southeast, incredibly beautiful, summer like almost, 10 degrees above average, Atlanta, Jackson, Little Rock, and Dallas in the 80s, should be in the 60s.

Big picture today, there is the snow and there is the warmth. The Southwest had record heat the last couple of days in Phoenix, Salt Lake City places like Vegas. Temperatures not quite as warm as they were, but still above average, and the Pacific Northwest rain and showers moving in. And hey, if you are out there skiing, high elevations snow, through Colorado and Utah. Lower elevations in Denver, see some rain showers.

Back to you guys. That's a peak at the weekend.

HENDRICKS: It's a dry heat, right?

STEELE: Absolutely. This early, it's a dry heat, right?

HENDRICKS: They should get used to it. Alexandra, thanks.

JOHNS: They'll get more of that later. So all right, this dog story has really got me going. The idea of putting your dog on a plane and he ends up way far --

HENDRICKS: It's one thing to lose your luggage when you are waiting, and then you go, where is my dog?

JOHNS: The poor dog, right, all right. This is the springer spaniel, just 6 years old, his name is Hendrix (ph), and he's already a world traveler, but not on purpose.

HENDRICKS: Hendrix, no relation to myself, was traveling with his family--

JOHNS: It could be your dog, right?

HENDRICKS: It could. From north (ph) to Phoenix when a cargo mixup in United sent him to Ireland. All the way to Ireland.

JOHNS: When United realized what happened, they went ahead and took steps to have him reunited with his family. Plenty of walks, we're told, food in between, but that's the kind of trauma you don't want to repeat.

HENDRICKS: One happy dog now. The airline has apologized and offered a full refund.

JOHNS: Hendrix's owner says she is not sure her dog is going to be flying anytime soon.

HENDRICKS: I thought about putting my dog on the plane before, but that's the kind of horror story and worse you hear about.

A happy ending there, but the dog is thinking, OK, I've been to Ireland, I am not going back, I am done for now.

JOHNS: All right. 18 days on the stand, testifying in her own defense.

HENDRICKS: But only 62 second to kill. Was Jodi Arias able to convince the jury that she killed her ex-boyfriend in self-defense? Jane Velez- Mitchell weighs in next.


HENDRICKS: Eighteen days. That is how long murder defendant Jodi Arias testified on the stand in her own defense. So how did she do as a witness and did she save her own life by testifying?

Earlier I asked HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN: A lot of people said, look, she had to take the stand, because first she lied, said she wasn't there, and then she said two ninjas did it, and then she finally said, oh, yes, I killed him but it was self-defense. There is no corroboration for that self- defense except her telling it. But she was so elaborate with some of her -- well, I think we have all concluded, lies, that she may have created so many inconsistencies that it was a opportunity for the prosecutor to really show beyond a reasonable doubt that she is a liar.

HENDRICKS: Speaking of the prosecutor, Juan Martinez, he has really gone after her full force on the stand.


JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: Ma'am, were you crying when you were shooting him?

JODI ARIAS, DEFENDANT: I don't remember.

MARTINEZ: Were you crying when you were stabbing him?

ARIAS: I don't remember.

MARTINEZ: How about when you cut his throat, were you crying then?

ARIAS: I don't know.


HENDRICKS: Did you think at all that his style may be turning off the jury?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it's very, very aggressive. But I have to say, when you are dealing with a pathological liar, and I do believe she is a pathological liar, you have to be aggressive because you can't nail them down. She is constantly using phrases like I guess, asking him to define his terms, well, if you say so, it's possible. So she slides, she slides out of everything she tries to pin her on.

So it's frustrating. I think sometimes he lets his frustrations show. But as far as aggressive, you have got to really hone in on a pathological liar and rattle them to shake them off her story. That's how I think he got her to say, oh, there was a holster, which was totally bad news for her, because now she has to take the gun out of the holster, then she says, well, maybe the holster was not there. So it showed the inconsistencies in her story even more, so I think he is a little over the top but he's got to do something.

HENDRICKS: And I think we really got a look into what the jury may be feeling and thinking, with their questions, 200-plus questions. Do you think that rattled Jodi Arias on the stand?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, I think it had do. I think she would be back in the cell rocking in a fetal position over that break where she is, the questions, echoing in her mind. Why should we believe you now when you have lied so many times before? How can you remember intimate details of sexual encounters but you can't remember stabbing somebody 29 times? These questions were hostile, they were sarcastic, they were almost rhetorical, and certainly they gave us an insight into the soul of these jurors, they are not buying her act.

HENDRICKS: They were sarcastic, and I remember a couple of them being snide. It does not seem like they like her at all. The next phase in this is the experts. Do you think they will save Jodi's life?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Her life is riding on these experts. Clearly the jurors through their questions did not believe the fog. Well, they are going to bring this psychologist on who is going to argue ferociously that yes, this fog does exist, and we've heard battles about this already, that he is saying, well, look, police officers even go into this fog when they shoot somebody, and they are trained to shoot somebody.

So if he can prove that this so-called fog, which the prosecutor was so sarcastic about, which the jurors were so sarcastic about it, is real, then maybe, maybe that's the only chance for Jodi Arias not to get the needle.


HENDRICKS: And stay up to speed on the Jodi Arias trial with Jane Velez-Mitchell. You can catch her on HLN weeknights at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time.

In other crime news, the week was dominated by FBI shootouts and cop cannibalism. Here is your week in crime in 60 seconds.


HENDRICKS: On Tuesday a judge entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of James Holmes, the man suspected in the mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater. Holmes faces 166 counts of murder and other charges in a shooting rampage that left 12 people dead and 58 people injured.

Gilberto Valle, also known as the cannibal cop, who was found guilty of conspiring to kidnap women and illegally accessing a law enforcement database. Prosecutors argued Valle, a New York cop, planned to kidnap women, then rape, torture and eat them. He will be sentenced in June.

The Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay nearly $10 million to settle molestation allegations from four men. The men alleged they were abused by a priest dating back to the 1970s.

The suspect in the shooting deaths of four people in New York died in a shoot-out with law enforcement Wednesday. Police say Kirk Meyers (ph) was hiding in an abandoned building when the FBI entered. In addition to killing four people, law enforcement says Meyers is believed to have blown up his own house. And that's your week of crime in 60 seconds.


HENDRICKS: We are talking basketball now, undefeated since February 1st, LeBron James and the Miami Heat have been playing near perfect basketball, but did their winning streak continue last night against the Bucks? That and much more coming up in sports.


JOHNS: The streak is continuing. LeBron James and the Miami Heat rolled over the Milwaukee Bucks last night for their 21st straight win. Joe Carter is here with this morning's bleacher report. These guys still have a ways to go to get the longest winning streak?

JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS: They do, Joe. They need 12 more wins, basically, to tie the record. The 1971 Lakers, Wilt Chamberlain, Gerry Buss, Pat Riley, they won 33 straight. Miami can tie that record April 6th, they can break it with 34 straight wins on April 9th. Obviously we'll talk a lot more about that in the coming weeks, but last night certainly they had no problem beating the Milwaukee Bucks by 13 points. LeBron James, Chris Bosch, each scored 28 points. The win streak as you said, Joe, up to 21 straight. Now Miami plays at Toronto tonight. That's where the streak began back on February 3rd.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boy, somebody we lost to, or somebody we need to beat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, here we go!


CARTER: And that's just the guys enjoying the win streak.

Now, let's talk a little NFL now. Elvis Dumervil, one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, wishes he had six minutes back. He reached a deal to play with the Denver Broncos next season, his salary would have been a guaranteed $8 million, but the contract that he needed to send over, that he needed to fax over was late to the Broncos. It missed the deadline by six minutes yesterday, so now the deal is dead. Denver was forced to cut him, his $8 million salary is gone like the wind.

His agent, of course, is blaming the Broncos for sending them the paperwork 25 minutes before the deadline. Dumervil, one of the best, is now on the open market nowhere, no one knows where he is going to go next.

Here is something that you don't see every day. Former NBA great, Adrian Dantley, who played in the league for 15 seasons, who is in the NBA Hall of Fame, he is now pulling early morning shifts and afternoon shifts as a school crossing guard in Maryland. Now, the job only pays $14,000 a year, but it does come with full health benefits. A friend of Dantley's told that he doesn't need the money, but does need the health insurance.

I will tell you, Joe, I was surprised to learn that former NBA players are not provided with health insurance. The crossing guards in Maryland, however, they only work one hour a day, but they still receive full benefits, full insurance package as full-timers. So no brainer for him. Keep busy and you get insurance.

JOHNS: That is just -- I don't know which shocks me more, that or the Dumervil story. But those are two real zingers, thanks so much for that, Joe Carter.

Are reinforced cockpit doors strong enough to withstand an attack? Find out why the widow of one 9/11 pilot wants a secondary door to the cockpit. Details on that coming up in our next hour.


HENDRICKS: We say it's never too early for late-night laughs, right?

JOHNS: Exactly. Let's get started with Dave Letterman's take on North Korea.


DAVID LETTERMAN, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: Apparently Dennis Rodman, while -- you know he went to visit Kim Jong-un in North Korea, evil dictator Kim Jong-un. And while he was there, he made a movie, Dennis Rodman had been in some movies. Take a look, a new movie coming out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unconventional cop with a flair for destruction, takes out an international arms dealer, and only one man can help him succeed. Rodman Un, "Un-stoppable." The supreme leader is now your supreme action hero. Coming soon.

LETTERMAN: Get it out of here.

JAY LENO, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: It happened yet again. Another Carnival cruise ship broke down, with no power and overflowing toilets. This ship was called the Carnival Dream, that's the name of this one. The last one was the Triumph.

You know, Carnival needs to come up with some more realistic names for these ships, like the Misery and the Defeat. or how about the "Oh my God what's that Smell"? How about that? That's a good name for these ships.


HENDRICKS: Back to Rodman and Un, I think Oscars in their futures maybe.

JOHNS: Absolutely. I think we are going to hear about that forever. It's just the -- it's his visual look in the first place.

HENDRICKS: Exactly, and the shades. He's got the look.

Thank you so much for starting your morning with us.

JOHNS: We have got much more ahead on "CNN SATURDAY MORNING", which starts right now.