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THE SITUATION ROOM
Oklahoma Aftermath; Boy Scouts Vote to End Ban on Gay Members
Aired May 23, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: So many stories like that as I have been here this week. It's so powerful to see what is going on. Thank Gary for that report.
Happening now: an emotional reunion of tornado survivors. A mother and her newborn thank the nurses who kept them both safe from the storm as she went into labor.
Plus, you have probably seen the picture. Now we will talk to the family photographed during their tornado nightmare.
And courage amid gruesome violence. We're going to hear from one of the women who confronted the suspects in the deadly meat cleaver attack in London.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in Moore, Oklahoma. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
There's been water gushing through some of the tornado wreckage in this town. Three days after the devastating storm, the weather has been causing more problems, slowing down recovery efforts. Checking the latest developments this hour, there's a chance of more storms in the disaster zone tonight after a day of pounding rain, strong winds and flood warnings.
Oklahoma's governor says everyone who is feared missing after the twister now is accounted for. And in a step back to daily life, high school graduation ceremonies will go on as planned on Saturday in Oklahoma City.
While May 20 was a disastrous day for this town, it's also the birthday of Shayla Taylor's newborn son. She was in labor while the tornado was ripping down the hospital's walls. And she might have never gotten through without four heroic nurses.
The women had an emotional reunion today. The baby was there as well.
So was our own Brian Todd.
It was a moment I am sure, Brian, you will always remember.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf.
You were over at that medical center. You saw how decimated that building was, windows blown out, entire walls ripped away. Well, we spoke to one woman who was in labor at the time that the tornado hit, and with the help of four nurses, even though she couldn't get out, she still rode it out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. Look how handsome your boy is.
TODD (voice-over): A reunion that came seconds and inches away from never happening. Four nurses from Moore Medical Center congratulate Shayla Taylor on her newborn son, Braeden, six people with a bond that will last the rest of their lives.
As the tornado approached town, Shayla Taylor was in labor on the second floor of the Medical Center. She was dilated, going through contractions and...
ALYSON HEEKE, NURSE SUPERVISOR: She couldn't move. She had had an epidural anesthesia, which meant that it numbed her enough that she couldn't walk.
TODD: As the tornado bore down, the staff moved her to the hallway, then to the more solid windowless operating room. The power was knocked out. It was too dangerous to move her anywhere else.
CINDY POPEJOY, NURSE: Her baby was not doing the best. So I really needed a way to monitor her baby to see how the baby was tolerating the birthing process, especially since she was so far dilated. So, the only place to do that would be the O.R.
TODD: But, within minutes, the hospital was hit with massive force.
(on camera): Now what are you thinking?
SHAYLA TAYLOR, TORNADO SURVIVOR: Once I felt the floor start shaking, it feels like an earthquake. And I knew we were getting hit directly.
TODD: Did you think at that moment that you and Braeden could survive this?
S. TAYLOR: I didn't know if we would. I was just praying that we would.
TODD (voice-over): The walls were ripped off the operating room. Shayla's husband and the nurses shared these pictures, from where they were hunkered down, a gaping hole to the outside, the tornado still raging.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Over my eyes, I could see I-35, and I could see the movie theater.
TODD: With Shayla still in labor, nurses Cindy Popejoy, Barbara Brand, Bonny Stephens and Alyson Heeke draped their blankets and bodies over her and hung on.
HEEKE: We actually were on the floor. Bonnie, the scrub tech, was kind of leaned over her a little more. We had blankets and pillows all around her and we were holding on to each other and the bed.
TODD: It worked. The tornado passed without any of them being hurt. But Shayla's husband, Jerome, who had taken cover with their 4- year-old son, Shaden (ph), on a lower floor, hadn't been allowed to go to his wife and says he didn't know how to get to her.
JEROME TAYLOR, TORNADO SURVIVOR: And they said, no, everybody's out of the building. And I was like, no, my wife is upstairs.
TODD (on camera): And there was still danger. Even though the tornado had passed, floors and ceilings were unstable and there were gas leaks.
But Jerome Taylor and the nurses were able to get Shayla on a flat board, get her down a stairwell and out.
(voice-over): Shayla was taken to the Healthplex Hospital in Norman. Within hours, Braeden Immanuel Taylor was born at a healthy eight pounds three ounces.
(on camera): What do you think of the nurses and what they did?
S. TAYLOR: They're -- those nurses are amazing.
You know, they -- they're definitely doing the job that they were called to do, you know, to put my life before theirs. I know that's what you're supposed to do, you know, as a nurse. I went to nursing school so I know that's what you're supposed to do. But to actually see them do it and to be more concerned about me than them, I know that they're definitely doing the job that they're called to do.
TODD: As for this tiny troublemaker...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably, he will sleep through anything now.
TODD: And a final piece of symmetry here. Shayna Taylor -- Shayla Taylor -- excuse me -- just finished nursing school. She says she's always wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse. And this experience just reinforces that. Wolf, she wants to go through a lot of this again, of course, not under those circumstances.
BLITZER: Did the nurses have any second thoughts about keeping her there?
TODD: They did. The two nurses we spoke to said they both had second thoughts afterward, did we do the right thing? But they both came to the conclusion that they had. It was just too dangerous to move her anywhere. She was -- she had the epidural and you can't walk. She was really immobile. They had to hang on wherever they could and just ride it out. They were lucky.
BLITZER: What an amazing story. Brian, thanks very much.
Many tornado survivors are trying to understand why they lived while their neighbors, 14 adults and 10 children, died. We're learning more about the deaths of seven of those youngsters at Plaza Towers Elementary School.
CNN's Tom Foreman is joining us now from our virtual studio.
Give us a sense, Tom, of what happened inside that school during the storm.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we're getting a lot more details about exactly how this shaped up.
Let's go back to this. This is just before 3:00 that afternoon. School is letting out. And at that moment, about nine miles southwest, this tornado hits the ground and starts sweeping toward Moore. Parents have been told there is bad weather. They could pick their kids up from the cafeteria where many of them had gathered. We don't know how many picked them up. That's why nobody really knows how many people were in the school at the time the storm hit.
But we do know this. Just past 3:00, everything changed because the emergency sirens started sounding. And the principal and the administrators and the volunteers and the teachers all started hustling these kids out into the hallways, as you see here, and telling them sit along the walls, put things over your heads, protect yourself. They had practiced this sort of thing many, many times. But it simply was not enough, because at about 3:14, when this storm came sweeping in, the National Weather Service said, it produced the strongest winds to be found anywhere along its path, 210 miles an hour.
And the building simply could not hold up. We don't know which order this happened, Wolf, but the gymnasium failed. So did all the outbuildings associated with it. The library at one end of the school, which is a newer part of the building, fell apart. And then the storm started chewing away at the whole building from the outside.
And this went on for a long time. This didn't just blow over. For three full minutes, the storm was moving so slowly, it just ate away at this school while teachers inside pushed kids into closets, into bathrooms, any place they could, throwing their bodies over them just to try to keep this disintegrating building from getting at everyone.
And now look closely where the walls are, and look at what happened in those three minutes. You can see that almost nothing is left of the school except for the spine of it. You saw where everything was supposed to be. This is all that was left. And if we pull out some of the closer images, you can see how it's hard to imagine anyone survived this.
Move over here and pull out a picture of one of the hallways, this is one of the hallways that made it through the storm. And imagine the punishment you would take sitting in there, from the wind and rain and all of the debris. Truly, Wolf, that is what made these 20 minutes both terrifying and terrible for the people inside.
BLITZER: Certainly was. Tom Foreman, thanks very much.
The oldest person killed by Monday's twister was 70. Two were babies, the youngest just four months old.
CNN's Erin McPike is here with me in Moore. She has got more on some of the victims and the lives they led.
Every one of these stories, really amazing.
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is.
And, Wolf, as you and I have been walking around Moore for the past couple of days, we have talked to a lot of resilient people saying they're used to this, and they can rebuild. But of course nothing can prepare these any of these families for the loss of their loved ones.
MCPIKE (voice-over): Worst of all the devastation in Monday's tornado were the 24 lives lost. Today, their families and neighbors shared stories of the lives they lived and how they died.
Newborn Case Futrell, just four months old, died alongside his mother, Megan, as they sought refuge from the storm. Case was one of the 10 children who died Monday. There was also 8-year-old soccer player Kyle Davis.
MIKKI DIXON DAVIS, MOTHER OF VICTIM: We will miss him tremendously. But I will see him again when it's my turn to make that journey.
MCPIKE: And 9-year-old JaNae Hornsby loved to dance.
JOSHUA HORNSBY, FATHER OF VICTIM: She was a ball of energy, a ball of love. She was the best kid anybody could have had.
MCPIKE: Hornsby and Davis died along with five other 9-year-olds at the demolished Plaza Towers Elementary School. They are Antonia Candelaria, Sydney Angle, Emily Conatzer, Nicolas McCabe, and Christopher Legg.
Other children lost their mothers, like Angeletta Santiago, whose mother, Tewauna Robinson, called her to say goodbye.
ANGELETTA SANTIAGO, DAUGHTER OF VICTIM: To lose her to something so devastating, it just -- it hurts. I had everything a girl could want with their mom. MCPIKE: And Shannon Quick, a 40-year-old mother of two.
JOY WALDROOP, MOTHER OF VICTIM: There's not a soul that doesn't love her.
MCPIKE: Her soul and those of the other victims will be celebrated and remembered in Moore. The first of the funerals was held today.
MCPIKE: Now, obviously, some really sad stories there, Wolf. When I was a sophomore in high school, there was a tornado that went through my hometown and it ripped through some of the high school's grounds and did kill two people. And people talked for at least a year about how hard it was. But it was nothing like this.
BLITZER: Where was that tornado?
MCPIKE: Oh, that was in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Sycamore High School was the school.
BLITZER: You still remember it vividly all these years later.
MCPIKE: I sure do.
BLITZER: Erin, thanks very much.
Still ahead, the family in a now famous photograph. They're going to join us live to share their story of surviving the tornado here in Oklahoma.
And a persistent heckler interrupts the president during a very important national security speech. But he says her voice needs to be heard.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We have got breaking news, the Boy Scouts of America ending the group's ban on gay youth.
CNN's Mary Snow is working the story for us.
We have just received an official statement from the Boy Scouts of America, Mary.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf.
And, as our viewers know, this follows months of intense debate. The Boy Scouts of America has taken a vote. This is a 1,400-member national council. They have taken a vote in Texas today, voting to allow openly gay youth to join Scouting.
However, the Boy Scouts of America will maintain its ban on gay adult leaders. And these changes, this policy change is set to take effect on January 1, Wolf.
BLITZER: Let me just read a line that Boy Scouts -- this statement has over here, Mary.
"While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens. America's youth needs Scouting. And by focusing on the goals that unite us, we can continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve."
Victor Blackwell is also working the story for is.
And, Victor, I just want to be precise. This is a major change by the Boy Scouts of America. They are changing, removing the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. But it doesn't remove the restriction on adult leaders. What else are you learning?
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have learned that after this vote was actually postponed in February, Wolf, the Boy Scouts of America set out to create this large study to listen to their members, the leaders, their supporters, financial and otherwise, and they learned from their leadership that if this ban would indeed be lifted, that there would be some major changes as it relates to each region.
We know that Utah and Idaho, they believe that almost all of those charter groups, which is sponsored by the Mormon Church, would leave the organization altogether, 97 percent by their estimate. But the Mormon Church leadership has said that they plan to work with the Boy Scouts of America moving forward.
It's important to note that more than 40 percent of the troops in the Boy Scouts every America are related to either the Mormon Church or the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has also said that it would stay with the organization. The southern region estimates that they will lose $18 million worth of support in the short term after this is impacting their group, after it goes into effect January 1.
And there are some in the central region who also believe that now that this ban has been lifted, that the organization will struggle as it relates to membership and finances. But one thing that was considered on both sides of this argument, if the ban would be upheld or if it would lifted, that there would be in the short term a loss of membership, because this is a very passionate issue.
BLITZER: And they say that the policy will only change January 1, as you point out, allowing the Boy Scouts of America that transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116 Scouting units.
Victor, thank you.
Mary Snow, thanks to her as well. Coming up, we go live to the hometown of a British soldier butchered in a London street. We now know his name, as well as the name of the suspect.
BLITZER: President Obama's explaining how he plans to guide America through a crossroads in the fight against terrorism. He delivered a major speech today back in Washington, responding to criticism on several fronts, including the use of drone strikes and pressure to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
He was heckled along the way.
Let's bring in our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin. She watched it all -- Jessica.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf.
With more than three years left in the Oval Office and growing criticism from the left, this was a chance for President Obama to both clarify and redefine his counterterror policy before the history books are written.
YELLIN (voice-over): Just months into his second term, President Obama made the case for the at times controversial method used to defend the United States.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Simply put, these strikes have saved lives.
YELLIN: And he fended off repeated interruptions from a protester.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you stop (OFF-MIKE) killing people.
OBAMA: The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to.
YELLIN: The president gave his most extensive comments to date on the use of armed drones to target people his administration decides are terrorists. He offered more detail than ever before on his decision to kill American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki.
OBAMA: He helped oversee the 2010 plot to detonate explosive devices on two U.S.-bound cargo planes. He was involved in planning to blow up an airliner in 2009.
YELLIN: In the face of growing criticism of the drones program...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will stop again. All right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pakistan, Somalia!
YELLIN: ... Mr. Obama outlined now official standards that must be met before directing a drone strike. The target must be a member of al Qaeda or an associate. It must be someone the U.S. can't capture. He will consult the host country. The target must pose an imminent threat. And he needs near certainty that no civilians would be killed or injured.
(on camera): Do you struggle with this policy?
OBAMA: Oh, absolutely. That's something that you have to struggle with, because, if you don't, then it's very easy to slip into a situation in which you end up bending rules, thinking that the ends always justify the means.
YELLIN (voice-over): The president also recommitted himself to one of his unkept promises, his vow to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
OBAMA: Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from Gitmo.
YELLIN: There are 166 detainees still in Guantanamo Bay. More than half have been cleared for transfer. With a hunger strike under way there, the president announced steps that will make it easier to send many of them back to their home countries, including 56 from Yemen. It's not good enough for this woman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are 102 people on a hunger strike, these desperate people.
YELLIN: Wolf, the president also addressed the uproar over leaks investigations at the Department of Justice which have caught up journalists in some of their subpoenas. He says his attorney general is doing a 45-day review of their policies that involve journalists and investigations. So we will hear more about that on July 12.
He also said that he's willing to work with Congress on allowing them more oversight of the drones program. But I should point out his speech also left a lot of unanswered questions, including how does he define who the enemy really is, and what is his plan for dealing with those detainees at Gitmo whom he determines are just too hard-core and too much of a threat to return to their home country -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Important questions still outstanding, but an important speech today as well. Thanks very much for that report, Jessica Yellin.
Up next, a family of tornado survivors, their photograph has been seen around the world. They have an amazing story to tell. We will speak with them.
And we will also see why there's so much interest in a horse farm that was destroyed by the tornado. People are volunteering to rebuild it.
BLITZER: Happening now: the terrifying moments before this photo was taken. Family members shown in this iconic picture join me. We will discuss the details about the tornado ordeal.
Plus, reaction to the bloody hacking of a military drummer in Britain. We're in his hometown, where emotions right now are raw.
And wait until you hear who's slamming former Congressman Anthony Weiner as he launches his campaign for New York mayor and tries to come back from scandal.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We now know the name of one of the bloodied men accused of hacking a British soldier to death.
This was the horrifying scene in London yesterday. Police say this man and another man attacked the soldier with a cleaver and a knife, in what officials are investigating as an act of terror.
We've also learned the name of the victim, Lee Rigby, a 25-year- old drummer in the British military, who served as a machine gunner in Afghanistan. Also, the father of a 2-year-old son.
CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is in Rigby's hometown near Manchester.
Matthew, what's the reaction there?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what a shock and disbelief, Wolf. I'm here in Middleton, which is a town in Rockdale (ph), which is just outside Manchester. That won't mean much to your audience, but it's up here in northern England.
And as I say, utter shock and disbelief. They're all watching this 24 hours ago, this scene that's taking place inside East London. No one thought for one minute it was somebody that actually came from this street. The family of Lee Rigby, just a short distance from here, they've asked for us to respect their privacy. They don't want us to go anywhere near the house at the moment.
But some of the neighbors around here are prepared to speak, and they've been telling us about how they came across this news, and what their feelings were when they first heard it. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: When you heard earlier today that this guy was a local, and an officer here, what went through your mind?
ANDREW GRIMSHAW, NEIGHBOR: It made me sad when I realized who it was. Devastated. To think it was one of my neighbors.
CHANCE: What's been the reaction of the local community here?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: As I said, the family haven't been prepared to speak to us. But they have issued a statement. This comes to us from the ministry of defense here in Britain. They say this: "All Lee wanted to do when he was a boy was to be in the army. He wanted to live life, to enjoy himself. His family meant everything to him. He was a loving son, husband, father, brother, and uncle, and a friend to many."
So you can imagine the grief that that family are going through right now, Wolf.
BLITZER: Matthew Chance reporting for us. Thank you very much.
The crime was truly, truly shocking. But so were some of the reactions from witnesses, including a woman who calmly talked to the knife-wielding suspect before police arrived.
CNN's Atika Shubert has this part of the story.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over); The video is shaky and brief, shot by an eyewitness. It shows three women who each, in their own way, stood up to the two young men who hacked a British soldier to death.
First, an unidentified woman kneeling down by the victim's body, apparently praying. Then in this video, she's standing with another woman, confronting the blood-soaked killers. It was perhaps what prompted one of the attackers to say this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In our land, our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Your governments don't care about you.
SHUBERT: It was a surreal scene. Many eyewitnesses initially thought it was a road accident, including Cub Scout leader and mom, Ingrid Loyay-Kennett. She jumped down from her bus to offer first aid before realizing the full horror of what had happened. She spoke to Britain's ITV News.
INGRID LOYAY-KENNETT, WITNESS: I could see a butcher's knife, and -- you know, the ax that butchers use. And blood all over him. I thought, what the heck happened here. And I thought, OK. Obviously I was a bit excited. And the thing was just to talk to them.
SHUBERT: In this photo, Loyay-Kennett can be seen attempting to talk with one of the suspects, even as he clutches a meat cleaver in his bloodied hands.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not scared for yourself in that situation? LOYAY-KENNETT: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not?
LOYAY-KENNETT: Because there's more mothers with children standing around. It actually was more important that I talk to him and ask him what he wanted. Because I thought, well, usually they want something.
SHUBERT: It was a moment of instinctive courage, amid a scene of terrible bloodshed.
Atika Shubert, CNN, Woolrich, London.
BLITZER: That woman was also asked if she had had any kind of training for a situation like this. She responded, and I'm quoting her, "I used to be a teacher and that can be stressful at times."
Still ahead, the family in a now famous photograph, all join us live here in THE SITUATION ROOM to share their story of surviving the tornado.
Also, the governor of New York slams former congressman Anthony Weiner and his political comeback campaign for mayor.
BLITZER: This photo seen around the world sums up many of the emotions survivors felt in the first minutes and hours after the tornado hit. This shows Briarwood Elementary schoolteacher Ledonna Cobb leaving the school, clearly injured while her husband Steve carries their daughter Jordan in his arms. The Cobb family is joining us here right now.
And I'm really thrilled that all of you are here. Steve, Ledonna, Jordan, Sydney and Erin. Guys, first of all, how are you doing?
LEDONNA COBB, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I'm doing good. I'm here.
BLITZER: You've got a little injury there.
L. COBB: I have a little injury. But I'm here. And that's the most important thing.
BLITZER: Steve, you're doing all right?
STEVE COBB, TORNADO SURVIVOR: Yes. We both had some lacerations on our head. She had a fractured bone in her cheek. But outside of that, just scrapes and bruises. Very sore. But all in all, I mean, we're lucky to get out the way that we did.
BLITZER: And the girls, you're all doing fine, too? Right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BLITZER: OK, good. Walk us through, Steve, the picture. Because this picture has now been seen around the world. Tell our viewers what we're seeing, what was going on?
S. COBB: Well, this is right after we dug ourselves out of the classroom that we were in, with my youngest daughter, who's in the picture there. My wife's holding her hand.
The other two daughters, they were in different classrooms. We didn't know where they were at. So we had started to search for them. And we come across my oldest daughter first. And then my daughter, Jordan, that I'm holding on to, another teacher came by and brought her to me and was carrying her. She was complaining about her leg was injured.
So we were just ecstatic that we'd found, you know, our other two kids. Because they weren't in the same room that we were in whenever the tornado hit. So we were just elated and scared. And you know, all those things wrapped into one. So we were just happy.
BLITZER: And I'm happy, too. You're a teacher at that school. But that was your day off.
L. COBB: Yes. I'm actually a pre-K teacher's assistant. And I took the afternoon off so that we could close on our house.
BLITZER: Close on your house on that day.
L. COBB: Yes.
BLITZER: Did you close on the house?
L. COBB: We didn't, no.
BLITZER: I would assume you didn't. How is your house, by the way?
L. COBB: It is OK. So yes, we get to close tomorrow.
BLITZER: So what did you do when you heard what was going on at the school?
L. COBB: We got an alert on our -- on our cell phones. And we knew that we needed to go get the girls. So we went to the school to pick up the girls. And we got there. And my class was in the hall where they -- where we practiced our tornado drills.
And I told Steve, I said, "I can't leave them." And so I got down, and I started rubbing their backs, and me and the pre-K teacher, we were singing, you know, nursery rhymes that we learned all year. Just trying to make them feel comfortable. And they were so brave.
And my husband came through the side door and he said, "Come here now!" And I came out. And came around the corner, and the tornado was right there. S. COBB: Right there.
L. COBB: And so we banged on the door that was right there, and it happened to be Erin's classroom. And the teacher let us in. And we went over and laid on top of the kids. And rode it out.
BLITZER: And pick up the story, Steve. Because you walked in. And I'm sure the words you used were pretty forceful.
S. COBB: Yes. I wanted her to understand, I mean, it wasn't going to go around us. It was coming right for us. And we decided, well, definitely we don't have any time to take off and try to outrun it.
So we jumped in the classroom. We all got down on our knees and covered our heads. My wife was on top of Erin, my youngest daughter, covering her. There was, like, 12 or 13 other kids, and another teacher was in there with us. And so we just waited for it to hit.
When it hit, it was like the walls came in, everything that was in the classroom was on top of us basically. There was a lot of weight on us. And I was just trying to get out, you know, trying to pull myself out of there as quickly as possible.
BLITZER: How were the kids reacting to all of this?
L. COBB: They were screaming. And crying. And we were just saying, "It's OK, it's OK. You're going to be OK. We're here." You know, "We love you." And they were just screaming. The worst screams.
BLITZER: Did you ever think the worst?
L. COBB: We didn't think we were going to make it.
L. COBB: Yes.
BLITZER: The noise, the level of the sound, they say, it's like a train moving through. Is that what it was like?
S. COBB: Very similar to that. It's like being in a wind tunnel. You can't hear a whole lot when it's on top of you. But it was pretty tremendous.
BLITZER: And when you think about, was it a lot of -- let me let the girls answer. Was it -- did it seem like a long time that this was going on?
JORDAN COBB, TORNADO SURVIVOR: Well, at a point it did seem like it took forever for it to form, and for us to be in the bathroom. Because that's where I was at. But then after it passed, it went a little bit quicker.
BLITZER: And then you walked outside of the school, and what did you see?
J. COBB: I saw just the houses. They were gone. It was wood and all their belongings. It was just all...
BLITZER: So what did you think?
J. COBB: I thought, this -- I was thinking someone pinch me, this is a dream.
BLITZER: More like a nightmare.
J. COBB: Yes.
BLITZER: Like a bad, bad dream. So -- but all three of you girls are OK right now?
J. COBB: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BLITZER: And you're all lucky to have wonderful parents who love you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mm-hmm.
BLITZER: So what do you do now? What happens now?
L. COBB: We'll be somewhere next year. We don't know. They haven't really gotten into, you know, where we're going to be, if they're going to rebuild. They are going to rebuild. We just don't know how quickly, and where we will all be. They haven't got that far yet.
BLITZER: They've got to have the safe rooms in those schools.
L. COBB: Yes. Yes.
BLITZER: Even the old ones, they've got to spend the money, whatever it costs.
L. COBB: Yes, absolutely. Oh, absolutely.
S. COBB: We've had a lot of storms that have -- and tornadoes that have come through the same area. So I know we're going to put a storm shelter in the house that we're buying, for sure. That's my priority No. 1 for us. So...
BLITZER: Your girls got some special things coming up for the summer this summer?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I might go to Florida on Tuesday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To my aunt and uncle. If I can still walk on my foot. BLITZER: Your foot -- you look all right. You'll be fine.
How does it feel to be on that picture over there? You know, that was -- I guess it must feel pretty exciting?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BLITZER: It's a picture that all of us will always remember.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BLITZER: And especially your parents.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BLITZER: Thanks so much for joining us.
L. COBB: Thank you for having us.
BLITZER: Thanks for sharing the story.
L. COBB: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
BLITZER: And good luck to all of you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
L. COBB: Thank you very much.
BLITZER: All right.
We have more news coming up, including a controversial bid for the New York City mayor. A very, very different kind of story. The governor of New York saying, shame on us if something happens.
BLITZER: A sexting scandal seemingly ended the political career of former congressman, Anthony Weiner of New York, but he launched a return attempt this week by joining the New York mayoral race. Anthony Weiner is getting no love, though, from one fellow Democrat, the governor of the state, Andrew Cuomo.
Our national correspondent, Jason Carroll is joining us. He's got the latest information.
Jason, what happened?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, after what the governor said today, it's very clear he does not support Weiner and doesn't want anyone else to support him either. Add to the equation, a mistake on Weiner's Web site, and an embarrassing headline, it all makes for a bit of a rocky start to his campaign. But Weiner says do not count him out.
CARROLL (voice-over): Not deterred by headlines, such as this, or missteps, such as Pittsburgh being used as a backdrop on his Web site, later fixed, former New York congressman, Anthony Weiner, looking for a second Chance in politics, chose Harlem as the first place to campaign.
ANTHONY WEINER (D), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Hey, guys. How are you? Come shake my hand.
CARROLL: Weiner was met by a crush of media.
WEINER: I'm not shaking his hand.
CARROLL: He shook every hand possible, carried a stroller into a subway, and embraced voters who showed their support.
(on camera): How do you think it went today so far?
WEINER: Well, I'm going to have a chance to tell everyone. I think it went well.
CARROLL (voice-over): So far, no major endorsements for Weiner, not from any unions, not from the Clintons. Weiner's wife worked for Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state. And certainly not from fellow Democrat, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who slammed Weiner in front of a group of newspaper editors, saying, quote, "Shame on us if the voters elect him."
LARRY SABATO, POLITICAL ANALYST: Democratic leaders are not going to risk anything by supporting Weiner. It's not as though they don't have other very acceptable candidates.
CARROLL: A poll conducted last week shows 49 percent of New Yorkers do not want Weiner to run for mayor, versus 38 percent who do. He fared worse among women: 52 percent polled saying they would not support him.
(on camera): How do you overcome numbers like that as you begin your campaign?
WEINER: Ultimately, this is day one or two of the campaign. One of the ways I do it is by seeing people. But also, you know, I frankly have been encouraged by having people say they're giving me a second chance and just listen to my ideas.
This was my neighborhood growing up.
CARROLL (voice-over): Weiner posted a video declaring his mayoral run overnight Tuesday. It features his wife, Huma, and shows Weiner as the family man who cares about the middle class. No direct mention of the sexting scandal that led to his resignation. But there was this.
WEINER: Look, I made some big mistakes, and I know I let a lot of people down. But I've also learned some tough lessons.
CARROLL: And the question is: Do voters think he has learned enough?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody deserves a second chance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He made one mistake. And out of most of the politicians, I think he was sincere.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't trust him. I'm not really sure why he gets back into the mix after being so, you know, exposed.
WEINER: Look, there may be people who say they're not and who say they'll never vote for me. I get that, and I respect that. And people have a right to have that view. But even for those people, I want them to hear about what I have to say.
CARROLL: Well, Wolf, despite the lack of endorsements, Weiner has still raised almost $5 million for his campaign, and polling shows him placing second in the eight-candidate field for mayor -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We'll see what's going to happen in New York. All right. Thanks very much for that.
Up next, a popular family farm wiped out by the tornado and the fate of the many animals who live there.
BLITZER: The monster tornado here in Oklahoma destroyed a popular destination for family outings. A horse farm with a petting zoo and other attractions. Dozens of animals died. But people who feel a strong connection to the place they love very much, they still want to visit, and they're now showing up to help rebuild it.
Our Brian Todd has the story.
GLENN ORR, FARM OWNER: Oh, my word. I haven't been up here yet.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Glenn Orr walked slowly and sadly across the place he built his life around.
ORR: Look at that. It's awful.
TODD: This is what's left of the Orr family farm. Where there was once a thriving horse-training business and a separate track where families could pet and feed animals and take hay rides, there is now twisted metal, mangled wood, a crushed carousel.
Orr and his extended family all survived the tornado. But this man is clearly not the same person he was just a few days ago.
(on camera): When you think of how long it took you to build all this...
ORR: Yes. Forty years. It's tragedy to think that it's all in shambles. Just in shambles. There's not a -- not a building.
TODD (voice-over): Half of Orr's business is a horse-training facility. Owners rent out several barns and stalls. A track and arena.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to cross the Orr family farm here.
TODD: When the tornado struck, Orr believes up to 100 horses in his compound may have been killed.
While we were there, state officials were removing them in large trucks. Veterinarian Clayton McCook came to help but says he did more euthanizing than treatment. Of the few that survived...
CLAYTON MCCOOK, VETERINARIAN: We saw everything from lacerated eyes, lacerated ears, mouth, all the way down their throat, down their neck.
TODD (on camera): You've been doing this for a long time. Anything prepare you for what you saw?
MCCOOK: No. No. I've seen lots of lacerations. I've seen lots of injuries that are traumatic. But never on a scale like that.
ORR: Look at this big rascal.
TODD (voice-over): The smaller creatures have the advantage of sturdier structures. Most of the animals in the petting zoo survived. This is where Orr, himself a veterinarian, received solace right now.
(on camera): With so many horses gone, Dr. Orr says this is going to be a part of the business that helps them build back up. The petting zoo and the feeding of these goats, sheep, chickens, pigs over here. This is what's going to build back the Orr family farm.
(voice-over): Orr is buoyed by dozens of volunteers like Ashton Motil, who feels a connection to the farm.
ASHTON MOTIL, VOLUNTEER: I mainly came and volunteered because as a little kid I was in Girl Scouts, and we just came out here all the time. Almost every year.
TODD: The return of so many whose lives he touched is overwhelming to Glenn Orr.
ORR: There was a reason for the development of this place. Sorry.
TODD: As we parted, I asked him, at this stage of his life, does he have the strength to start again?
ORR: That's difficult question. I think so. And the only reason why I think so is because of the support of the family. If I were doing it myself at my age, no.
TODD (on camera): Dr. Orr says it's going to cost more than $1 million to get this place built back up. But even at 81 years old, he is very determined to do so. He says he's going to get it back up and running by September 1 -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What a story. Brian Todd, thanks very much for sharing that. Good luck to that entire, entire family.
Here's what you can do if you want to help the folks here in Oklahoma. Go to CNN.com/impact. You can impact your world. Lots of good opportunities there to do the right thing. I want you to do it. CNN.com/impact.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting from Oklahoma. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.