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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Wintry Mess in the Spring; Sandusky Speaks from Behind Bars; Interview with Snooki on Life as a Mom; Shark Attack Caught On Tape

Aired March 25, 2013 - 08:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: They're from nice states where the weather is generally nice.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I know.

MARY BONO MACK (R), FORMER CALIFORNIA CONGRESSWOMAN: Beyond beautiful.

BERMAN: There, you rub it into half the country, suffering from eternal winter right now.

ROMANS: Yes, this is why California is the promise land.

CONNIE MACK (R), FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Florida, you don't think Florida is a great place, we were out on the water fishing this weekend.

ROMANS: We'll do what we can do all over, which is the best --

BERMAN: It's nice for them. For everyone else, it pretty much stinks right now, because winter in its last gasp we hope. From Missouri to Pennsylvania, millions of people dealing with rainy, snowy, slushy messes. In Indianapolis, too many fender benders to even count.

Take a look at this video. The weather rendering the arch in St. Louis nearly invisible. Parts of eastern Indiana and western Ohio were under winter storm warnings and the system is continue to go track eastward.

We have all this covered for you. Susan Candiotti is in Dayton, Ohio. Shannon Travis is in Potomac, Maryland. And Jennifer Delgado is at the CNN weather center in Atlanta.

We're going to start in Dayton with Susan Candiotti. Good morning, Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Good morning.

It's a mess here like it is in so many other places. The roads here however are mainly clear. The main highways, I just got off the phone with police and they say they're having no major problems.

On the other hand, the winter storm warning here is in effect up mid afternoon. We still have the snow coming in. And across the country it seems as though even though it's spring, winter is holding on tight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Icy roads, slippery going near St. Louis as a pickup truck slides down a street. Just about everyone's tired of winter weather in spring.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's crazy. I'm just sick of all the snow, like I was so ready for it back at Christmas. But now, I'm over it.

CANDIOTTI: Plows were tripling up in some parts of Missouri as relentless snow blanketed highways. At Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, nasty weather forcing cancellations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, it's just going to be a long day sitting around waiting. I ha one flight canceled and then been rerouted.

CANDIOTTI: The severe weather sweeping into the South. High winds uprooting trees in central Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't believe the tree fell on the car. This guy got it a lot worse than I did.

CANDIOTTI: Violent thunderstorms temporarily washing out Tiger Woods' shot and a number one ranking after two holes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Broken tree limbs and flooded fairways postponing the tournament.

At Orlando International Airport, a wind gust clocked at 86 miles an hour, a jet swept against a hangar.

In Kansas City, about eight inches of snow forced churches to call off services.

Coloradans were among the first to feel the storm's fury -- whiteout conditions, 150 mile stretch of interstate shut down. Even a major pile up on I-25 that left a tractor-trailer in flames. By late Sunday in Indiana and Ohio, the skies opened up dropping freezing rain and snow, making people wonder, where is spring?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it comes, it comes. This is Ohio. We get snow.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Everybody says oh, yes, spring is around the corner.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI: John, I always keep a promise. Last hour, I told you I was going to get a step stool. It's here. That was great, Christine. That woke me up.

All right. Speed limit, that's what it was, 40 miles an hour. Look, they have had anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow in this area. And just about now, everyone is saying, including us -- enough already -- John.

BERMAN: Susan Candiotti in Dayton, Ohio, you've been battling with that sign all morning and we appreciate it so much. Thanks, Susan.

ROMANS: She doesn't take a step stool in most of her live locations, quite frankly.

All right. Let's go now to the Atlantic Coast which has gotten particularly hard hit this season.

Shannon Travis is live in Potomac, Maryland.

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine.

Spring team meet winter's wrath, right? It's been coming down pretty hard here in Potomac, Maryland, since we've been here for the past few hours, Christine. I went and got my ruler just to take a look and measure it exactly and see how much.

We put it down in there a few minutes. And, yes, four inches, just about four inches right there, Christine. It was about three just 30 minutes ago.

We're right here on I-270. This is a major artery into the nation's capital. People coming from as far west as West Virginia, as far north as Pennsylvania. Good and bad news.

The bad news is that the roads are pretty slushy. As you can imagine, with snow, and the visibility is pretty low. But good news, Christine, is that traffic is moving pretty steadily, possibly because Congress is in recess right now and a lot of schools in the area are closed.

Another thing that we're watching is just the weight of this snow, it's pretty heavy and it forms pretty solidly. I'll have us pan over to the tree. That tree is essentially covered with snow, that's a problem because snow like that on trees, on bigger trees, next to power lines could actually bring down the power lines. So , obviously, that's a concern.

One other thing, we spoke with some plow operators here and they're trying to move all of this mess out as quickly as they can -- Christine.

ROMANS: Shannon Travis -- thanks, Shannon, in Potomac, Maryland.

BERMAN: We have props. We have step ladders, we have rulers, and boy, do we have hail?

In parts of Kentucky and Tennessee, folks are dealing with hail and potentially damaging winds.

I-reporter sent thus video from their front porch.

So the big question is when can we expect a break from all the extreme weather?

Let's bring in Jennifer Delgado. Hey, Jennifer.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, guys. It's hard to follow Susan and Shannon, especially with the fancy props that they have. But I have the radar right now. And we are still looking at snow out there still coming down very lightly in Illinois, still some heavier batches moving through Indiana, as well as into the Ohio Valley.

But, of course, we're also looking at parts of the Northeast, mid- Atlantic, what we're dealing with is snow and the snow has been coming down very good. Starting to taper off in the Washington, D.C. area, but notice for areas including Delaware, into Maryland, snow there. Coastal regions will be looking at rain with snow mixed in at times.

For areas like New York City, we're expecting 1 to 3 inches of snowfall for areas including Jersey, three to five, including central and northern parts of Jersey. Anywhere you see in purple and pink, that indicates winter weather advisories as well as warnings. Areas right along the mountains of course will be the big winner with six to 12 inches.

And for Susan in Dayton, Ohio, we'll add on another four inches of snowfall.

And I want to show you some of the totals just from this morning alone. Look at this total for parts of Virginia, Harrisonburg, 7.5, for Arlington, 2.4, and for Baltimore, 2.5 inches of snowfall.

Of course, this is going to mean a lot of travel delays for D.C., Philadelphia, even some for New York. And, of course, for Indianapolis as well as into Columbus, guys. Let's send it back over to you. But I have to tell you, they are really getting in to that snow coverage today, aren't they?

BERMAN: Jennifer Delgado, thanks to you.

ROMANS: It's better than the sequester. It is more fun to cover than the sequester.

All right. New development this morning in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case. The former Penn State assistant football coach telling a documentary filmmaker that much of the evidence used to convict him was false. The filmmaker played some of the excerpts of his interview with Sandusky on the "Today" show, including a clip where Sandusky questions the testimony of key witness Mike McQueary, calling him a liar.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JERRY SANDUSKY, FORMER PENN STATE ASST. FOOTBALL COACH: There's a lot of things that transpired. You know, and I think these investigators, the way they led it all business, you know, his story changed a lot.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ROMANS: Sandusky also denies McQueary's account of his abuse of so- called victim number two.

BERMAN: What do you make of this when you're hearing a guy speak from prison, a guy who chose not to testify in his own defense in his trial, well, now, he decides to talk to a filmmaker? Who does that come off to you?

MACK: He's a liar. I mean, I don't know how else to describe it. Here is a guy who's been convicted. He's a felon.

I just -- it is so sickening to me this whole story. And that he continues to talk about it, bring it out into the press which has to be very difficult for the families. But I just -- I wish he'd just go away and be quiet.

ROMANS: Yes, a lot of victims and his conviction of 30 to 60 years, they hoped that was the end of this for them. This certainly stirs things up.

RICHARD SOCARIDES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right. The worst part is that it's disturbing to those people involved, victims. You would hope that people would be allowed to move on. And, you know, I think it's probably, you know, you could expect that he would continue to try to say that he was innocent, but we just ought to start ignoring him.

I mean, it's such a sensational story, it's hard to ignore, but I think people should just ignore it. And, you know, as Connie said, the man's been convicted of these crimes. We ought to stop listening to him.

BERMAN: All right.

ROMANS: All right, guys. Thanks.

Prosecutors in front of judges in Italy at this morning, asking to retry American student Amanda Knox for the 2007 murder of her college roommate. Knox spent four years in an Italian prison until lower courts overturned her conviction back in 2011. Italy's highest court is expected to rule today on their request. The court is also expected to rule on whether to drop slander charges against Knox. That would allow her to sue her accusers.

New this morning, Secretary of State John Kerry landing in Kabul for a surprise visit to Afghanistan. He's scheduled to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace. This is Kerry's sixth visit to Afghanistan since President Obama's first term began. This is his first trip as Secretary of State.

Yesterday, Secretary Kerry was in Iraq meeting with Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki. He's blaming fueling civil war by allowing weapons and fighters in so Syria from Iran through Iraq.

BERMAN: A new sinkhole opening up in the same Florida community where a 37-year-old man was swallowed alive late last month. Local media outlets reporting the ground gave way between two homes over the weekend. The sinkhole is about 8 feet wide, 10 feet deep. Two homes in the Tampa suburb over the weekend. The sinkhole is about eight feet wide, 10 feet deep. Two homes on either side of the sinkhole have been evacuated as a precaution.

Twenty thousand bucks and chest bump and bear hug with Kevin Durant, quite a birthday weekend for Oklahoma City Thunder fan Justin Dougherty. Dougherty got a chance to try half court shot for $20,000 -- there it goes, he sinks it!

ROMANS: Look at him!

BERMAN: Talk about a man with his priorities. First thing he did was hug his girlfriend. Smart move, man. There you go.

He's smart and he's got a nice half court shot. And then it is a hug or more like a tackle from the 6'11" Kevin Durant. Hard to hold up Kevin Durant when he gives you a bear hug. Quite a memorable 24th birthday for Mr. Dougherty.

ROMANS: I think the girlfriend was the one who got the tickets to the game for his birthday. So she deserves that and so much more. Isn't that awesome?

BERMAN: I would hug my girlfriend before Kevin -- well, my wife in this case. Hugging my girlfriend would be a real problem.

MACK: Yes, explain that one.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: That was my outside voice. Sorry, guys.

ROMANS: All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT, the pictures we've been talking about all morning. A great white shark breaks in to a dive cage. It's crazy. We're going to talk to the guy who filmed this heart-pounding video about what went wrong. I guess what went right since no one got hurt.

You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. Reality TV star Snooki, best known for her wild bar hopping, her drunken antics on MTV's "Jersey Shore," on the MTV's spinoff show, "Snooki and JWoww," her life is a bit more tame thanks to her new little baby, 7-month-old Lorenzo, and also her fiance, Jionni. But, you know, maybe not. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIONNI LAVALLE, REALITY STAR: Are you going to be good?

NICOLE "SNOOKI" POLIZZI, REALITY STAR: No cart wheels. I'm a mom now.

I'm back and I'm meatballin' again, and I love it.

LAVALLE: I don't want to marry you if you do stuff like that.

POLIZZI: You make me feel like a really bad person and I'm not.

Me and Jionni just agreed, you know, it's never going to be like an easy ride.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: I just moved to Jersey and I'm trying to be like a jersey girl, a real Jersey girl.

BERMAN: You're living your life right now.

ROMANS: I know.

BERMAN: Snooki's baby just baptized yesterday. There is a lot of news to report in Snooki world in addition to the birth of her child and the baptism of her child. She has recently lost 42 pounds, and she's been showing off the new look all over the cover of "Us" magazine. Everyone is talking about it. And there she is, Snooki.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Snooki had entered the studio.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

POLIZZI: Hello. Thanks for having me.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Do you go by Nicole?

POLIZZI: I do. It's my real name.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: -- and say call you Nicole?

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

POLIZZI: Nicole is my real name. So, I appreciate that.

ROMANS: Awesome. Awesome.

POLIZZI: Yes.

BERMAN: Everyone's talking, and I know this because, you know, I know everyone. Everyone is talking about the cover of "Us" magazine. You lost 42 pounds.

POLIZZI: Yes. BERMAN: How did you do that?

POLIZZI: Basically, dedication. I mean, I got a trainer right when I could work out.

ROMANS: Keep talking --

POLIZZI: Right when I could work out. You know, I just started going every single day, and eating healthy, not really drinking anymore. Just being healthy and fit.

ROMANS: How do change your image now. You are we know who you are because of the drinking and the carousing and the fights in bars and kissing a girl and all this other stuff, you know? How do you change -- how do you take brand Snooki from that into something that can carry you as mother Snooki, wife Snooki?

(CROSSTALK)

POLIZZI: I just explain it like this. I was 21 when the show came out. So, basically, I was just growing up. I did, you know, crazy stuff when I was 21, you know, drinking, having the time of my life. And now, to where I'm settled down, 25 years old, I have a child, and I couldn't be any happier. I love being mom.

ROMANS: With all that stuff before, was that for the cameras or was that real? Was that really how you --

(CROSSTALK)

POLIZZI: Like I'm on on TV. This alcohol is for free. I'm just going to have the time of my life and I did.

BERMAN: Now that you are a mom, are you going to let your chide, you know, watch the reruns of "Jersey Shore?"

POLIZZI: I mean, it's inevitable. It's going to happen. So, hopefully, when he's 16 he'll watch it and I can explain to him, you know, mommy was just a little crazy. Don't do what I did.

ROMANS: What if your kid was like that? What if your kid was like "The Situation?"

POLIZZI: I'd till him to calm down.

(LAUGHTER)

POLIZZI: Relax. Stop it.

ROMANS: Nicole, what's next for you?

POLIZZI: Well, right now, I'm working on my pregnancy book. I'm very excited. I can't wait for that. Working on my clothing line. And hopefully, more seasons of Snookie and J Wow because I love to show, you know, the not drinking side of me.

ROMANS: Tell me about the -- yesterday, you had your baby baptized.

POLIZZI: Yes.

ROMANS: Tell me about that. And you live with your fiance's parents, is that right?

POLIZZI: Yes. We're living in the basement until our house is being built. So, it's very convenient, actually.

ROMANS: That's really close.

POLIZZI: Yes.

ROMANS: Potential in laws just upstairs.

POLIZZI: I love them.

CONNIE MACK: I tried that defense in politics. It was 20s, I had the time of my life. They just didn't work for me.

(CROSSTALK)

CONNIE MACK: Nothing. It's all on YouTube.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: But you've been able to build -- I mean, can you retire off of the -- what you've done so far or you're going to need to work going forward? I mean, how has this been for you in terms of a financial background?

POLIZZI: I mean, I'm not complaining. I take care of my parents which I love. You know, but I would still like to, you know, still work, because I want more kids. So, I have to support everyone. So, I would like to continue as long as, you know, this goes.

BERMAN: Thank you so much for coming in. It's great to see you.

POLIZZI: Thank you, guys.

ROMANS: Best of luck to you and your little guy, too. He's so cute that little seven-month-old baby. So cute.

All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT, the pictures we've been talking about all this morning. A great white shark breaks in to a dive cage and the diver was still trapped inside. They're next. We'll talk with the man who filmed this heart pounding video about what went wrong. How that shark get in there?

You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. So, two divers off the coast of South Africa experienced quite an encounter with a great white shark that was way, way too close for comfort. The shark swam right up to their diving cage, rammed hits he had through the bars, then flexed its jaw muscles. You don't want the sharks to do that. It was all caught on video. You have to look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God!

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God --

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand back, stand back!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Joining us now is the man who shot this incredible video. I also believe he's the man behind the veeps, Bryan Plummer from Cape Town, South Africa. Thank you so much, Brian.

We think Brian might have invented some new words in that. We're not going to -- please don't say them again, but, obviously, a shocking moment.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: So, Brian, you were in the boat looking down at this as it was all happening. Explain to me what went on.

BRYAN PLUMMER, SHOT VIDEO OF SHARK ATTACK: Sure. So, first off, I was actually in the cage just about five minutes before then with my friend, Richard. We were actually in that very same corner where the shark ended up coming in and kind of saying hello at a very close proximity. But -- so I just popped out of the water.

You know, I kind of threw my wet suit off and decided to get my camera out to try to, you know, take some pictures and kind of, you know, soak in and get my money's worth from the whole experience. And, next thing you know, the shark kind of crashes into the cage, and there's a huge frenzy activity.

There's colors, there's flashes, there's screams and a lot of uncertainty as to what was going on. And, yes, then finally, the shrieks and the sirens of concern kind of came down and there were shrieks of, you know, thrill, and people were kind of excited that they had experienced something so entertaining, I guess. But, yes, everyone --

ROMANS: Who was in the cage? And you got to tell me, I mean, how close were they getting a little kiss from a great white shark?

PLUMMER: I mean, there's not much room for each of the people. There are actually eight of us in total in the cage. I wasn't there at the time, but the guy who was directly in front of the shark, his name is Roger Shaw (ph), and he was -- yes, he was the one who was directly up in front of it. And, yes, so, there's not much space.

You can't really go left, you can't go right, you can't go up, and his reaction was to go down. There's a couple feet beneath the water. So, he managed to curl up into a ball down there and wait until the teeth have (ph) left.

BERMAN: If you listen at the very beginning when the shark is approaching the cage, the first thing you hear is, awesome. You listen to that. Some guy is like, great, the shark is coming in the cage. But the other thing I'm thinking is, who puts themselves in a cage with a bunch of bait around them? I mean, is that smart?

PLUMMER: Fair question. Very fair question. Yes, I mean, you know, it's a big thing to do here in South Africa, you know, especially hunts by (ph), you know, the great white shark, you know, capital of maybe the world, I think. You know, so part of the experience my sister and friends were visiting and it was kind of, you know, part of the experience of what they wanted to see and do here.

So, yes, we all did it together and it was exciting. It was thrilling. We got more than our money's worth, I think, but you know, it was really interesting to see those creatures in the natural habitat. And I'd probably do it again.

BERMAN: Did anyone go back in the tank after that?

PLUMMER: Yes. I was back in there 15, 20 minutes later. So, it was, you know, was dealt (ph) with on the boat, and you know, everyone went back in. It was a freak, you know, freak occurrence. And so, we were kind of put at ease and we jumped back in there and enjoyed the rest of our day there.

BERMAN: All right. Brian Plummer, you have a lot more issues than I thought, but thank you so much.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Thank you so much for joining and tell us about that. It's amazing video. Well done.

ROMANS: All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT, well, that's number like 2,652 of things I will not do.

BERMAN: Ever.

ROMANS: Secretary of State John Kerry making a surprise visit to Afghanistan this morning. We have new details and a very live report.

BERMAN: Plus, she is one fearless mother. A deputy decides she cannot wait for animal control, so she tackles this alligator herself outside a school. We're going talk with her live about what she was thinking. We have alligators, we have sharks today. Every reason to stay with us. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)