Return to Transcripts main page


Hillary Starts Speaking Tour, Speculation of White House Run; Louisiana Plant Explosion; Putting the "Men" in "Menopause"; Ohio Mother Charged in Daughter's Disappearance; A Flying Bike?; Colorado Fires now 5% Contained

Aired June 14, 2013 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A deadly explosion at a Louisiana chemical plant. Dozens injured as investigators try to figure out what ignited the flames.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A mother arrested weeks after her 18-month-old toddler vanishes. This morning, a community demanding to know where is Baby Elena.

ROMANS: Standing ovation. Hillary Clinton debut on a speaking circuit, fueling speculation of a -- aha -- 2016 presidential run. What brought the crowd to their feet? We'll tell you.


LEMON (on-camera): Speculation? Come on.

ROMANS (on-camera): I tell you, she could wake up in the morning and they say, it would be the banner headline, Hillary Clinton woke up this morning, she's going to run for president.

LEMON: She's going to run for president. Is she contemplating it? In her dreams.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Don Lemon.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's 31 minutes past the hour.

LEMON: One man is dead, at least 75 others recovering following a massive explosion at a chemical plant near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. CNN's Nick Valencia has more now.


TYRONE ELPHAGE, WITNESS: I was passing by on a delivery. We saw big flames in the air shooting up. We looked over. The whole unit was engulfed in flames.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The flames are now out. The plant is secured, but the cause of the blast that sent fire shooting high above this small Louisiana community remains unclear. JEFFREY WILEY, ASCENSION PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: The chemical that we think was involved in this is a highly volatile, chemical but is not one that would lead the fence line when we think clearly. So, we think we're OK in that regard.

VALENCIA: The blast killed at least one person and sent dozens more to the hospital with injuries. But even those who escaped unharmed were left dazed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boom! Like that. Everybody started taking off running, chaos, jumped the fence, jumped the tables, went to the grass. Buses (ph) running over people. Going everywhere.

VALENCIA: At a nearby Baton Rouge hospital, doctors and nurses treating the injured.

LEIGH ANN, NURSE: Just the look on people's faces that patients was just shell shock. You know, you talk to people as you take them out of the helicopter and they're just -- one man said -- we didn't even know what happened. We heard a loud boom and he said the next one was so loud, I felt like my chest was going to cave in.

VALENCIA: While investigators continue to assess what happened here Thursday, Louisiana's governor trying to reassure those affected.

BOBBY JINDAL, LOUISIANA GOVERNOR: Absolutely. Once the investigations are done, once there's a responsible party, they will absolutely be held responsible.

VALENCIA: Nick Valencia, CNN.


ROMANS: The most destructive fire in Colorado's history is now a killer. 750 firefighters on the frontline this morning. They're trying to stand up to the wind whipped 16,000-acre Black Forest fire. It's not going well. 379 homes are gone, burned to the ground. 38,000 people evacuated, and now, two victims have been found burned to death.

They were attempting to pack up and flee their home, but they were overtaken by flames. They were found in their garage next to -- with the car doors open. They were trying to get out of there. Colorado fires have been fueled by ferocious winds. Fighters report the planes were literally racing across tree tops, making containment, Don, next to impossible.

LEMON: And people are watching their homes go up in flames. One couple we're going to watched on the evening news --

ROMANS: Right.

LEMON: -- as their house went up in flames. We're going to go now to Indra Petersons tracking the condition for us. When will these winds die down, Indra? INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Unfortunately, this problem is that the forecast really doesn't change much even for the next seven days. We continue to see, very easy to tell where the moisture is. It's all east of the area. I mean, so close. But west of it, notice how dry. Now, the only hint (ph) to good news is the overnight hours, we're getting a hint of recovery.

From the overnight hours without that beating sun, we start to get a little bit higher relative humidity, but 36 percent in the over on eight hours is definitely not a good enough number. As we go through the afternoon, we see that number drops again. So, again, they're still dealing with all this dry air. The only hint of change is that they still have a thunderstorm chance in the afternoon.

This is for the high elevations. And keep in mind, it's so dry, it's not hitting the ground. Unfortunately, it just enhances the threat for lightning which could strike another wildfire. So, that's the problem. Temperatures are still high. Still feeling the gusts out there, especially some of these storms kind of roll on through.

And of course, they're dealing with that fire danger. What we are dealing (ph) on the east coast, we're now seeing that storm finally kick out of here. This is what we saw yesterday. That was that storm between 2:00 and 6:00 with a lot of wind damage, but conditions are better today.

ROMANS: All right. Indra Petersons, thank you so much, Indra.

LEMON: All right. Other news now. Today marks six months since the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre.


LEMON (voice-over): The Newton, Connecticut community will come together for a ceremony honoring the 26 victims, children and adults who were gunned down in the school. A moment of silence will be observed 9:30 a.m. eastern time. Families and local officials will also renew their fight for stricter gun control laws.

ROMANS (voice-over): New developments in the Santa Monica shooting rampage that left five people dead. Police say the gunman, 23-year- old John Zawahri (ph) left a remorseful farewell note behind. In it, they say he apologized for killing his father and his older brother and said goodbye to some friends.

They also say he hoped his mother would be taken care of financially. Police say the note does not shed light on a motive, but the "L.A. Times" reports Zahawri he had an affinity for guns, suffered from mental problems, and struggled with his parent's divorce.

LEMON: South African president, Joseph Zuma, says Nelson Mandela's health continues to improve after spending nearly a week in the hospital. The 94-year-old Mandela is fighting a recurring lung infection in the intensive care unit of the Pretoria (ph) hospital where Zuma says he remains in serious condition. President Zuma is asking South Africans to keep Mandela in their prayers and to wish him a speedy recovery.

ROMANS: Voters in Iran are going to the polls this morning to elect a new president. Six candidates vying to replace outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who's barred from seeking a third term. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, cast the very first ballot today. The candidates only got on the ballot with his approval.

LEMON: Human genes cannot be patented, so says the Supreme Court. The ruling is being hailed as a victory for patients and doctors who argued gene patients with stall scientific research, and it's a setback for big biotech firms like Myriad Genetics, a Salt Lake City company that isolated the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 breast cancer genes. Myriad's stock prices plunging nearly six percent yesterday.


ROMANS (on-camera): Ladies you can blame those hot flashes and mood swings on men. Sorry, guys. But according to a new Canadian study, men actually caused menopause. Here's the theory, because men have always preferred sleeping with younger women, menopause (ph) is the evolution's way of recognize middle-aged women no longer needed the ability to reproduce.

The study concludes if men found older women more desirable, women would be able to have children right up to the day they die. There's so many things about that study --

LEMON: The study was done by women.

ROMANS: There are so many things --

LEMON: It's always the man's fault.

ROMANS: It's your fault.

LEMON: We have been false (ph). It's the man's fault. I'm just going to say, yes, dear.

ROMANS: Apparently, they put the men in menopause.


LEMON: It is called men-opause, right?

ROMANS: You're right, dear.

LEMON: At least it's named after us.


ROMANS: All right. Coming up. So nice to have you on this Friday, Don.

LEMON: Good morning.

ROMANS: It's nice to be with you today. (LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: Is this a sign? Hillary Clinton's latest comments that political watchers asking will she run for president?

LEMON: And, that's not supposed to be there. Why this plane wound up in the side of a hangar? Not so much.

ROMANS: I said left. I said left.

LEMON: No injuries, but still --

ROMANS: Turn left.

LEMON: A whole lot of questions this morning.


LEMON: Good morning, everyone. Beautiful shot of Manhattan there. It's a high 40 here in the east.

ROMANS: When Hillary Clinton speaks, the political world listens. They're hanging on her every word, wondering if she's running for president again. And as Erin McPike tells us, her latest appearance is sure to spark even more speculation.



ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Post presidential Clinton world has itself a brand-new headliner, Hillary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It is such a pleasure to be here in Chicago, participating as a private citizen, as a co-host of CGI and as a representative of what we are officially renaming the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

MCPIKE: Mrs. Clinton's debut speech for the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago showcased a whole new Hillary.

HILLARY CLINTON: After visiting 112 nations for four years, I'm still jet lagged.


MCPIKE: Fresh off the launch of a brand-new Twitter account, her profile says her future role is TBD. The political world is abuzz over a potential race for the White House in 2016.

HILLARY CLINTON: I will be focused on applying lessons learned from around the world and building new partnerships across our entire portfolio, but particularly, in three broad areas that have been close to my heart my entire adult life.

MCPIKE: That new focus could bolster her domestic policy credentials ahead of another run for national office. The last member of the family to hold the job seems more than willing to share the spotlight.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I learned all about NGO work from Hillary. When we were going out, she was already active in many kinds of non-governmental activities, and she was when I was governor of Arkansas both in our state, in America, and around the world.

MCPIKE: In some ways, Hillary's coming out is also a passing of the torch from classic bubba.

BILL CLINTON: As I move into my dotage, my job will be to find people who really know what they're doing.

MCPIKE: For all the celebrities and CEOs here, there was still no doubt Hillary is the draw. And as she settles in a TGI, she told the crowd something big was coming.

HILLARY CLINTON: We'll have an exciting announcement.

MCPIKE: Erin McPike, CNN, Chicago.


LEMON: All right, Erin.

Republicans on parade. Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio kicking off the Fate in Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority conference in Washington. Today's featured speakers include former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, Congressman Paul Ryan, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and the Donald, Donald Trump.

ROMANS: If you know Boston, then you know parking can be nearly impossible in some areas, but how much would you pay to avoid all those hassles? Two prime parking spaces just went up for auction in Boston's Back Bay. The bidding started at $42,000 and kept going higher and higher.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two prettiest parking spaces I've ever seen. For town (ph) look for 420. Won't be here tomorrow. For town (ph) look for 420 520, looking for 530.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A half million dollars? Like, that's ridiculous, honestly. I don't know. I think if we would have a half million dollars. I don't think we'd spend it on a parking lot.


ROMANS: When it was over, the parking spot sold for, wait for it, $560,000.

LEMON: What was that for?

ROMANS: For two skinny little parking spaces on the concrete in the Back Bay. LEMON: You said -- you heard the guy, he said packing --

ROMANS: Packing. That's right.


LEMON: Parking spots starting at $40,000.


LEMON: It's early. It's my last time anchoring this show. Oh, it's the last show.

Coming up, I guess, it's a good problem to have. Wealthy communities are running out of mansions. The housing crunch that's hitting the well-to-do.

ROMANS: Oh, that's so bad.



ROMANS: Her 18-month-old daughter has been missing for nearly two weeks now. This morning, the Ohio mother is behind bars. She is charged in this little girl's disappearance. CNN's Pamela Brown has the story.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-five-year-old Angela Steinfort (ph) breaks down in court on Thursday. Her daughter missing for more than a week. Steinfort is charged with felony child endangering of 18-month-old Elena.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need all the support I can get to bring her home.

NANCY GRACE, HLN ANCHOR: Where is Baby Elena?

BROWN: The toddler disappeared almost two weeks ago when her mother says she put Elena down for a nap. Her estranged husband says he came for a custody visit with his two daughters. At first, he says Angela refused to hand over Elena. When she did agree, Elena was gone. Family members say the mother's story just doesn't add up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She doesn't know where the baby is at or who took the baby. Personally, for what I have viewed of her, I don't think she's showing any emotion of it.

BROWN: Investigators believe the child may have been hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was (INAUDIBLE) that the baby was injured at one point. She was aware of it and did not seek medical attention for the baby. BROWN: Volunteers have scoured the neighborhood. The streets are lined with posters with one goal, to bring Baby Elena home. But so far, no clues.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST, HLN'S JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: We do hope the child turns up alive. Right now, it's a mystery. We don't know what happened to this little girl. So, the mother cannot be charged, for example, with murder because no body, no case.

BROWN: Bond for Steinfort (ph) has been set at $250,000.

Pamela Brown, CNN, New York.


LEMON: You have to see this next video. Trouble on the tarmac at Chino Airport in San Bernardino County, California. That's not normal, right?


LEMON: A plane crashing into an airport hangar. It actually happened while the jet was taxiing. Someone took a wrong turn somewhere. Plane was belong to a private company. It was undergoing an engine test at the time. Three mechanics were on board. No one was injured in that crash.

ROMANS: All right. Here's one interesting sign of the economic times. Mansions are in demand and there aren't enough of them for sale. "Business Insider" reports that in the nation's wealthiest towns, the number of mansions available is down 15 percent over last year. One real estate agents says it's because a lot of rich people from here and overseas are in the market for big homes right now. You know what they're buying them with?

LEMON: What?


LEMON: Cash. Yes.

ROMANS: Yes. Cash.

LEMON: Yes. That's a big problem here in Manhattan, too. You can't find an apartment, because everybody is paying cash.

ROMANS: It's true. And you look --


ROMANS: -- about, you know, the real estate market in general. The big report yesterday, I'm sure, that's what "Business Insider" was pegging that on about (inaudible). There's not a lot of supply. Inventories are at, you know, multi-decade lows. People don't -- that's good for prices, because there aren't a lot of houses on the market. LEMON: I'm not telling you so then you don't know is the business guru, but that's going to change once the inventory becomes available and people start building again.

ROMANS: And when people start moving, the jobs and stuff.

All right. Coming up, Orville and Wilbur would be so proud of bicycle takes flight. Here's the catch.


ROMANS: The story, when we come back.


ROMANS: All right. Fifty-four minutes past the hour. Taking a look at the top CNN trends on the web this morning. One of the world's most powerful couples calling it quits. Rupert Murdoch filing for divorce from his third wife, Wendy. He's the owner of News Corps, home of the Fox TV Network and movie studio and numerous newspapers and other media properties. They've been married 14 years.

Wendy Murdoch famously defended her husband back in 2011 when he testified before British lawmakers about the phone hacking scandal there. She tried to stop a protester from throwing a pie. It could prove -- it could prove to be a very expensive split. Murdoch's last divorce cost him 1.7 billion, that's with a "B," billion dollars.

LEMON: She -- she pummeled, remember that --


LEMON: Billy Ray Cyrus announcing that he and his wife, Tish, are ending their 19-year marriage. The singer/publicist is doing a statement asking for privacy. They separated back in 2010 before trying to reconcile. They have five children including, performer, of course, Miley Cyrus.

ROMANS: Lindsay Lohan reportedly on the move. "People" magazine reporting the starlet has relocated from the Betty Ford Clinic to another rehab center, Cliffside in Malibu. She's serving a 90-day sentence for a probation violation. The court apparently OK with the move since the Betty Ford Clinic typically only keeps patients for 30 days. And Lohan has 60 days left to go in her court ordered treatment.

LEMON: Yes. Talk about reinventing the wheel. What about two wheels? Want to go up, up and away? Well, there's a new way of doing. It's getting a debut. A public test flight this week. A new bike goes up in the air. Jeanne Moos takes a look.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bike riders sick of sharing the street with cars, maybe this will give you a lift.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A flying bicycle.

MOOS: OK. So it didn't fly high, it didn't fly far, it didn't fly long?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's phony, it ain't real.

MOOS: Oh, it's real. The flying bicycle's public debut took place at an exhibition hall in the Czech Republic capital of Prague. It was a non-human on the bike, but it wasn't E.T. avoiding roadblock.


MOOS: Instead of being silhouetted against the sun, the flying bike stayed low, a total of six propellers that look like fans provide the lift powered by batteries. It was operated by remote control.

JAN SPATNY, PILOT OF THE BICYCLE (through translator): I have to say that it is already good to control. I can fly it without problem.

MOOS: Three Czech companies collaborated on the flying bike. It was the sight to warm the heart of a window washer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need it to clean windows. That would be great. I'm going to talk to my boss and that way we'll buy some of those nice bikes and we can be flying.

MOOS: One tiny problem, flight time for the bike is limited to five minutes. That's when the batteries run out. New Yorkers were skeptical.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't even look safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those propellers are kind of big.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, you fly above, where you going to land? Where do you park it?

MOOS: And how are you going to lock it up, like a regular bike on the sidewalk? The lead company, DuraTech, says that battery capacity will improve enough for the bike to be used for sports or tourism. But some don't see the point.

(on-camera) What issues do you see with it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's insane from the very beginning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like what do they call the Segways? They made a big thing about Segways like everybody was going to be on Segways. Didn't happen. Same thing with that.

MOOS: Oh, yes. Tell that to E.T.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I guess, it will sell well to extraterrestrials.

MOOS: New york.


ROMANS: Extraterrestrials don't need a bike if they've already got the magic or whatever it is. But, five minutes air time. It's not bad. You can cross town in five minutes.

LEMON: Come on.

ROMANS: I mean, all these New York pedestrians?

LEMON: We're having trouble here with the city bikes now with two wheels -- how are we going to do it an air bike or whatever that's called.

ROMANS: Anyway.


ROMANS: Good check ingenuity there for at work for you. EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS (voice-over): Colorado on fire. Wildfires turning deadly as hundreds of homes are destroyed this morning, the flames are spreading. We're live.

LEMON (voice-over): Chaos at a Miami sports bar when the water front deck suddenly collapse, dozens injured, tossed right into the water.

ROMANS: The king has returned. Lebron James helping lead the Miami Heat to victory over the san Antonio Spurs. The NBA finals now all tied up.

LEMON: Yes, yes, yes. Up all night.



LEMON (on-camera): Blurry eyed this morning.

ROMANS (on-camera): Do it again Sunday.

LEMON: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Don Lemon.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's Friday, June 14th. It's 6:00 a.m. in the east.

LEMON: Up first, we're going to talk about this, the most destructive wildfire in Colorado's history has now turned deadly. Desperate firefighters say the Black Forest wildfire in Colorado Springs cannot be contained, not as long as 30 to 40-mile-an-hour winds keep whipping the flames.

Hundreds of homes have already been lost and hundreds more are in harm's way right now. CNN's Dan Simon live from the fire command post in Colorado Springs this morning.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning, Don. The community got its first bit of hopeful news. The fire is now slightly contained. It's a modest number, five percent. But it shows that firefighters are beginning to make a little bit of progress. Meanwhile, up until this point, this fire had spread through a very, you know, forested area where people live on multi-acre lots. Now, with the fire spreading towards Colorado Springs, it could put a lot more homes at risk.


SIMON (voice-over): Listen to the crackling of the flames, this just one of the 379 homes now reduced to rubble, in what is now being called the most destructive wildfire in Colorado State history. The Black Forest wildfire has scorched nearly 16,000 acres of land, its flames widespread threatening neighboring cities like the densely populated Colorado Springs.

DALE MIELKE, RETIRED FIREFIGHTER: It was extremely fast moving. I kept my family here too long because I thought we were safe, and then, next thing you know, it was crossing the street to the south of us within minutes.