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Up to 1,000 People Waiting for Rescue; Interview with Mayor Matthew Appelbaum of Boulder, Colorado; A Warning for Syria; Summers Withdraws Name For Fed Chair; Bullets Fly Near Times Square

Aired September 16, 2013 - 08:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Gunned down, two innocent bystanders near Times Square shot by police as they opened fire on an unarmed suspect. New questions this morning, and it's all caught on tape.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, the most extensive salvage operation ever, the doomed Costa Concordia cruise liner being lifted from the water at this hour. But will it work?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY continues right now.



ANNOUNCER: What you need to know --

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria will result in immediate referral and action.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.


BOLDUAN: Good morning, and welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is Monday, September 16th, 8:00 in the East.

This morning, we're going to get a clearer picture of the extent of the devastation in Colorado, almost 20,000 homes damaged or destroyed, and more than 1,000 people stranded, still waiting for help. Is there any relief in sight in the forecast or are things likely to still get worse before they improve? We'll get the very latest from the mayor of Boulder, Colorado, in just a moment.

CUOMO: Here is a live look at an unprecedented effort under way off the coast of the tiny island of Giglio in Italy right now. That is the Costa Concordia. You remember, 20 months ago, it sunk after the captain directed into rocks. There was a huge investigation. He was shouted to get back on board.

Now, they're trying to lift it. Will they'd be able to do it? What happens if they fail?

It could break apart. There is a huge toxic issue there in the waters. We're going to take you through all of it.

PEREIRA: And the brain-eating parasite -- well, it has been found in another community's water supply. The people there are being told that it's safe to drink. It just can't go up their nose. Are they serious? We're going to try and break this whole down for you today.

BOLDUAN: All right. First up this hour, though, coming this hour in Colorado, sunrise, daylight could help rescue crews get to the hundreds of people who desperately need their help to escape the epic flooding. Just take a look at this amazing pictures of the rescues happening over the weekend.

The National Guard says there hasn't been an air lift like this since Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. More than 2,100 people rescued so far. More than 1,200 people are still unaccounted for this morning, at least 1,500 homes destroyed, more than 17,000 others damaged.

CNN's George Howell is live in Longmont, Colorado, with the latest. How is it looking as the sun comes up this morning, George?


Look, the best visual to show you right here, the St. Vrain River. This is a good example of what people are waking up to here in the state of Colorado after more rainfall on Sunday, basically sent rivers and streams rushing, cut off more communities and temporarily brought the rescue operation to a standstill.


HOWELL (voice-over): At least four counties in Colorado qualify for disaster relief and they'll get that help today as FEMA moves into the hardest hit areas. The flooding so widespread, officials haven't begun to estimate the full extent of the damage.

Over the weekend, President Obama declaring a major disaster in the state. While the state's governor touring the devastation, his helicopter rescuing seven people along the way.

JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO GOVERNOR: We're going to rebuild better than it was before.

HOWELL: But Mother Nature isn't helping rescue efforts. Clouds and heavy rain grounded air rescue missions Sunday. More than a thousand people have yet to be evacuated and with roads and bridges crumbling under the deluge, for some, rescue by air is the only way out.

LT. COL. MITCH UTTERBACK, COLORADO NATIONAL GUARD: I think what we have going on here in the last 24 hours is the greatest number of Americans rescued by helicopter since Hurricane Katrina.

HOWELL: Entire neighborhoods like this one in Jamestown isolated. Cities like Aurora already plagued by flooding contending with hail that pummeled the area over the weekend. Officials in Boulder County alone say they will need an estimated $150 million to repair more than 100 miles of lost roadway and between 20 and 30 bridges. The scene in Colorado is devastating but not hopeless.

SHERIFF JUSTIN SMITH, LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO: The question I had is how can we ever recover from this? I know exactly inch by inch mile by mile community by community.


HOWELL: A live picture here in Longmont, Colorado, of the St. Vrain River. You can look at it there. I mean, this river is ripping and this is what caused a lot of the damage. We know from officials that at least 19,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed from this storm. At least 1,000 people still waiting to be rescued, but we do know the good news, that rescue operation is expected to resume today.

CUOMO: All right. George, thank you very much for the reporting.

Now, f course, this story is not just about numbers and forecasts. It's about people fighting to survive. One Colorado boy says it was like someone dropped Niagara Falls on them.

The floods have turned families into castaways and for those facing the rising waters, the sight of a helicopter is like the answer to a prayer.

CNN's Ana Cabrera has that story.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The desperation continues to find the missing. This morning, rescue crews still struggling to reach communities cut off.

The barriers, dangerously high rushing water, ripped up roads and mud filling up homes. Heart wrenching images like these are disturbingly abundant. Yet, we haven't seen the worst of the destruction. Places like Jamestown have been completely off limits, the terrain rugged, rocky, steep, and accessible only by helicopter during brief breaks in the rain.

TIFFANY VOELLER (ph), MOTHER: I was worried.

CABRERA: Tiffany Voeller's husband and son were trapped in that zone for two days on a 5th grade field trip when the floods hit.

LUCA VOELLER, 5TH GRADER: Something just took a waterfall, rubbed out the sky like Niagara Falls, just put down there on the road.

CABRERA: The 10-year-old Luca learned the road to camp was destroyed. While the camp, itself, was spared, he and his 77 classmates had no way home.

Teacher Shannon Burger says the adults hatched a plan.

SHANNON BURGERT, TEACHER: They figured that we could hike out, which would have been three-and-a-half, four miles for our kids with some water crossings, that we would need harnesses and all of that. CABRERA: But their escape would not need harnesses instead the National Guard came to the rescue.

LUCA VOELLER: The helicopters. Those were the best.

CABRERA: Four Chinook helicopters and a Blackhawk arrived Saturday morning.

BURGERT: So we're shouting constantly. You two go there. You two go there.

T. VOELLER: Everyone was cheering when the buses were pulling up. It was very fun, very celebratory.

CABRERA: The Voellers know they are among the lucky ones. Too many families have no home to return to.

Ana Cabrera, CNN, Boulder, Colorado.


BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Ana.

Authorities are updating the list of people unaccounted for, including about 300 people in Boulder County at this moment.

Joining me now to talk more about the devastation that they're facing, the mayor of Boulder, Colorado, Matthew Appelbaum.

Mayor, thank you so much for taking the time this morning. I know you have much more to do than to try to speak to us. But thank you for taking the time because it's important to get the message out.

How are things looking from the ground today?

MAYOR MATTHEW APPELBAUM, BOULDER, COLORADO: The city of Boulder certainly has fared better than some of our surrounding communities. But we still had a rather extraordinary flood event, one we hadn't really expected because of the immense amount of rain and the widespread nature of it, where all of our creek ways, we have 15 or so tributary creeks, the Boulder Creek coming to town and all of them flooded at once.

Things certainly look better. The sun is going to come out today. It will be normal Colorado sunny for the rest of the week, we believe, but there is a huge amount of cleanup and a huge amount of repair, and a huge amount of destruction around town that people will be dealing with for a very long time.

BOLDUAN: Put this in perspective. What has this been like for residents in your town and what is this going to look like going forward? Have you yet, do you think, turned the corner and gotten a handle on the devastation you're facing yet?

APPELBAUM: Probably not entirely. Again, the city was not hit quite as far and we don't have massive road destruction that you see in the county. We don't have people who are unaccounted for. Obviously, we're an urban area, the access is much better.

But I think after watching people the last few days helping each other out, the remarkable community spirit that we have, I think there's going to be a lot of shock and disbelief the amount of destruction, the damage to people's houses, the damage to neighborhoods, the damage to roads, the damage to our much beloved open space. It's pretty significant, and as I said, it's extraordinarily widespread. I think when the sun does come out, we'll get a better idea of the extent of that damage both from the city perspective and also the very unfortunate personal stories.

BOLDUAN: Yes, the numbers when you look at it are really astounding, just how many people are still missing, kind of in the county and other areas, as well as the number of people that have had to be airlifted out that have been completely stranded.

Why do you think these numbers are so high? Were people not prepared for what was coming their way?

APPELBAUM: You know, I think we did a very good job at preparation and looking -- watching the last several days the coordination between the city and the county and the federal agencies has really been remarkable. But up in the county and, again, this is not within the city limit --


APPELBAUM: -- but up in the county, there are thousands of properties in mountainous terrain with limited access in the best of times, and while we've always known our creeks are susceptible to flooding, what we all expected was the more traditional -- if I could use that term -- a 100-year flood event, a flash flood thunderstorm, some severe and perhaps quite damaging flooding along one drainage way. But other accesses remain open.

But nobody expected, including the meteorologists, was an event that would last for many days and would be completely spread out north to south the entire county and much of the Front Range, which meant that all accesses were cut off.

BOLDUAN: Well, there's clearly going to be a lot of need as people get a handle on what they're dealing with and when rebuilding begins. But, first and foremost, I know your community needs most of all, for the rain to stop and the sun to come out and for these search and rescue operations to continue.

Mayor Appelbaum, the mayor of Boulder, Colorado, thank you so much for your time this morning.

APPELBAUM: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Of course.


CUOMO: All right, Kate. Secretary of State John Kerry is in France, trying to build support for a plan to get chemical weapons out of Syria. A deal between the U.S. and Russia calls for a full accounting of their weapons within a week and full removal by late next year. Is that realistic? Is it even possible?

CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is traveling with the secretary of state and filed this report from Paris.



What we saw this morning was a show of unity, a show of force by Secretary Kerry, with the British and French foreign ministers backing this Syria deal on chemical weapons. But Secretary Kerry saying they can't take this at face value, they can't take it by words alone their focus is getting a forceful resolution in the U.N. Security Council backing this deal, that brings consequences for the Syrian regime if they don't comply.

(voice-over): In Jerusalem, Secretary of State Kerry insisting that the deal he's worked out with the Russians will be enforced, President Obama is still willing to back it up if necessary with military action.

KERRY: The threat of force is real. We cannot have hollow words in the conduct of international affairs.

SCIUTTO: Still, any use of force of Syria's President Assad fails to gave up his chemical weapon also have to go before the U.N. Security Council, unless the U.S. chooses to act on its own. The deal calls for Syria to account for all of its chemical weapons stockpiles by the end of next week, let U.N. inspector and destroy production facilities by November, and remove or destroy everything by the middle of next year -- a time frame some experts call unrealistic, in the middle of a civil war.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If that goal is achieved, then it sounds to me like we did something right.

SCIUTTO: In an interview with ABC News taped before the announcement, the president defends how he's handled the crisis even if Assad stays in power, says he welcomes Russia's president getting involved, that he's not worried he's being played by Putin.

OBAMA: You know, Ronald Reagan said trust but verify.

SCIUTTO: But he rejects Putin's claim in that "New York Times" op-ed, that there's every reason to believe Syrian rebels carried out the chemical weapons attack.

OBAMA: What I said is nobody around the world takes seriously the idea that the rebels perpetrated this attack.

SCIUTTO: His critics however fired back.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-MI), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE SELECT COM. ON INTELLIGENCE: This is a Russian plan for Russian interests. And we should be very, very concerned.

NEWT GINGRICH, CNN'S "CROSSFIRE" CO-HOST: We're now relying on the Russians. We're now following from behind, not leading from behind.

SCIUTTO (on camera): Secretary Kerry and his British and French counterparts believe that this U.N. report coming out later this morning will give them more ammunition, more backing for this deal. But still, they're working on a very ambitious timeline going forward, which gives the Syrian regime multiple opportunities to delay and game the system, and there's still skepticism within the administration.

One U.S. official told me that this deal relies on the Syrians doing something that they haven't for a long time, Kate and Chris, and that is acting in good faith.


BOLDUAN: All right. Jim Sciutto, thanks so much for that.

So as Secretary Kerry makes his case for his new Syria deal to U.S. allies abroad, that deal is taking a little heat at home. Senator John McCain, he is not happy about it. The Arizona Republican says the agreement gives Russia the upper hand and doesn't properly provide for the use of force if Syria fails to comply.

Here's what Senator McCain had to say earlier on NEW DAY.


CUOMO: Well, if the president announced that there's new red line, that if Iran -- you know, with their nukes, that he would bomb their nukes, what do you make of the strength behind that statement?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I don't think there's any credibility left in the Middle East. I don't think that -- I think when you say you're going to do something in case -- draw a red line and don't react, and then I don't think you have credibility.

BOLDUAN: Where do you go from here? I know you think the deal was a loser, but what else do you do at this point? You know that the use --

MCCAIN: I would dramatically step up our assistance to the free Syrian army.

BOLDUAN: Do you think Congress should be involved and all, because you know that vote was not going to pass.

MCCAIN: This is done by the intelligence committees, would be in agreement. But until you reverse the momentum on the battlefield and Bashar Assad thinks he's going to lose is the only way you get a negotiated departure of Bashar Assad. But I think that the president went to the American people saying two things, one, I want to strike, two, I want to pause. That's a very confused message to give the American people when he spoke to the American people.

I think that if he had acted, he had the authority to do so. Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada one night. Bill Clinton did carry out strikes. Every president has. But once he decided to go to the Congress, it's the first time in history the president announced he's going to act militarily and then turned around and said that he had to go to Congress to get their permission.


CUOMO: That was Senator John McCain.

Now, something else we want to talk to you about. Your 401(k)s and budget strategy may have been influenced this morning. Why do I say that? Larry Summers has withdrawn his name from consideration to be the next head of the Federal Reserve, and that may shape market reaction.

Two big money issue, Summers' withdrawal and the five-year anniversary of the financial collapse. What does it mean? Are we better off today? Let's discuss. Let's bring in CNN global economic analyst and "Time" magazine's assistant managing editor, Rana Fordohar, and the hose of "Your Money," CNN business correspondent, Christine Romans -- Christine.


CUOMO: Thank you to both of you. First of all, let's start with Summers. What does it mean?

ROMANS: It means that Larry Summers will not be the next Federal Reserve chairman and more likely that Janet Yellen will be. Look, he pulled out because it looked -- he said to the president this is looking too acrimonious. Me getting confirmed is going to be too tough and that distracts work at the Federal Reserve, most important, by the way, in the world right now.

The next fed chief probably the most important person in the world. They have to undo all of that stimulus and do it well without hurting the economy. Janet Yellen is likely seen as the frontrunner now. There are other names were here, Stan Fischer, Dan Kohn, Roger Ferguson. A lot of other names with the White House chooses.

It will be interesting. Stocks are rallying this morning, because they think of Janet Yellen, you're going to have consistency at the fed and that's what Wall Street wants to see and that would be good for your money.

BOLDUAN: Now, Rana, I want to ask you about the five-year anniversary that we are today of the financial collapse. I mean, there are a lot of opinions on -- are we better off today than we were five years ago. It's the subject of the "Time" magazine cover, how Wall Street won, you write, five years after the crash it could happen all over again. RANA FORDOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Yes. Absolutely. Well, it's safe to say that certain banks are in better shape than they were before the crisis. They are making record profits. They've increased the amount of capital they're holding, but the system --

BOLDUAN: That's not better for us, the consumer?

FORDOHAR: That's right, because the system as a whole still has not been re-regulated in a way that would make it safe for next time around. Only 40 percent of a Dodd-Frank financial regulations have been written. There are important loopholes about banks still being able to trade derivatives which were the very complex securities that caused the last crash. So, I think there's still lot of work to be done.

CUOMO: There was one big casino question that mattered in fixing the banks, which was, how much leverage would they be allowed to have? How big of that could they make without cash to back it up? Has that changed and should it change?

ROMANS: It's changed, but basically hasn't changed enough.

FORDOHAR: That's right. I mean, the banks are still protesting using just five percent of their own money on risky deals. You know, most of the rest of America wouldn't dream of borrowing 50 percent --


CUOMO: They're not aloud. The same banks, they trade like crazy.

ROMANS: They do have stress test now. The treasury says, the treasury actually disagrees with Rana and says that they are safer. They say that we are safer. The banks are in better shape and they're working hard to, you know, finish up everything they have to do for regulation. But, you know, they have to have stress tests. They have to have more capital on hand.

People don't feel safer. I mean, look at the polling. People feel they're still worried about their job. Housing market is back. It's not all the way back. Job markets coming back. It's not all the way back. And the stock markets, half of the Americans aren't exposed to the stock market.

FORDOHAR: Well, that's the thing. And that's one of the points in my story is that finance hasn't been rumored in the real economy. Banks were set up to lend you and I money, to lend small businesses money. They're making most of their money doing risky trading, not lending to the real economy.

PEREIRA: So, we can look back, and hopefully, make some adjustments looking to the future.

FORDOHAR: I think so.

PEREIRA: What is the biggest danger that's facing the U.S. economy right now? FORDOHAR: Well, aside from the banking re-regulation that still needs to be there, I would say flat incomes. I mean, when was the last time most people got a raise in this country in an economy, and I know, Christine agrees there there's an economy (ph) that 70 percent consumer spending. You cannot have a robust recovery unless people start to see income ticking up.

CUOMO: And a fundamental tension that exists, unless you guys disagree is that these bank that got the largest welfare program in the history of the world don't want to lend the people because they say, well, they're risky bets, and yet, they were bailed out by the same people they won't lend to.

ROMANS: -- but they have to have the certain amount of cash, and Rana didn't believe it.


FORDOHAR: Well, you know, I just look at the balance sheet and I say you can make a lot more money trading than you can doing a 30-year mortgage. But if the banks collapse, they said, we would all be worse off, so they said.

ROMANS: We would be worse off if banks collapsed. They didn't collapse. We have to look forward --


FORDOHAR: That's right. You know, we're still in the two percent economy. The banks have recovered but we haven't

CUOMO: Great article, "Time" magazine, worth the read.


BOLDUAN: Rana, Christine, thanks.


BOLDUAN: All right. So, Ingrid, the second official hurricane of the 2013 Atlantic season is bearing down on Mexico this morning and heading towards the Southern United States. Mexico's already been hit hard by tropical storm Manuel with the death toll at 21 right now.

Now, parts of the country could be facing more than two feet of rain and that could produce life-threatening flooding and mudslides. Let's get straight to meteorologist, Indra Petersons with more on where this is all heading, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, this is a very dangerous situation setting up right now. As you mentioned, we have two systems there, both moving into Mexico, each one individually powerful enough to produce heavy mudslides. So, what we're looking at? Here's the remnants of what was tropical storm Manuel on the pacific side. You can currently see about 30-mile-per-hour wind. Now, notice, not too far away from the Atlantic, we also have what is now actually a tropical storm Ingrid which has actually already made landfall right around La Pesca. So, you have both of these two now merging together, bringing that rain potential extremely high.

The other thing you want to keep in mind is the mountainous region there. So, all that terrain is really going to allow for enhanced rainfall. Similar to what we're currently seeing in Colorado. So with that, we're talking about 10 to 15 inches of rain. Isolated areas could see 25 inches of rain. I want to put that in perspective, Colorado, thing about 10 to 15.

We're talking about places could double that amount, all that going down those hillsides, very deadly situation in the region. I also want to point out here notice where you can actually see it starting to make its way ashore. We still have Brownsville and Corpus Christi close by. No, they're not going to see rain that heavy, but they will see some heavy amount, about one to two inches tonight and then again several inches in through tomorrow.

So, we'll be watching for significant flooding in that region as well. It doesn't take a lot. It takes a lot in a short period of time to cause the flooding threat.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: We're covering a lot of news. We want to get to Michaela, top story which seems to be another unjustified shooting by police. Michaela, good, young man just seemed to have been taken down.

PEREIRA: Terrible sadness. Terrible sadness about this life cut short. Making news right, we're going to get to that story in a second. Actually, we'll tell you more about the young man, former Florida A&M football player whose life was cut down.

But first, we'll start with today, the Republican led House Oversight Committee will issue an updated version of its report on the attack last year at the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi. Committee chairman, Darrell Issa, says the new report focuses on what he calls shortcomings in the accountability review boards investigation.

It questions why the investigation held only four mid-level state department officials accountable for security lapses in Benghazi.

The judge overseeing the Guantanamo war crimes court will decide this week whether to halt pretrial hearings in the 9/11 case. Defense lawyers for accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others claim computer problems at the Pentagon are hampering their work and that those problems could take some three months to fix. Mohammed and his four alleged co-conspirators are facing the death penalty if convicted.

To the story Chris and I were talking about a court date today for North Carolina officer who opened fire on an unarmed former Florida A&M football player who police now believe was looking for help after he survived a car accident. Responding officers say they've unsuccessfully tried to use their stun guns to subdue Jonathan Farrell, (ph).

So, Officer Randall Kerrick (ph) opened fire. They say they believed Farrell matched the description of a possible breaking and entering suspect called in by a woman who did not recognize Farrell when he approached her home asking for help. Kerrick (ph) has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Miss New York is on a Miss America hot streak, please look at your screen. This is Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, better known now as Miss America, taking home the crown Sunday. Her winning is historic. She is the first Miss America of Indian descent. She performed a Bollywood fusion dance for the talent portion on the show.

The unfortunate ugly backlash, rearing as ugly head on Twitter, some people calling her a foreigner, an Arab, even a terrorist for the record. She is an American-born gal. She's of Indian descent. And she is not Muslim. But boy can she dance.

Congratulations this morning for a real TV legend, Bob Newhart, finally picking up an Emmy Award, his first if you can believe it in his 50-year career. He's been nominated seven times before. What was he Susan Lucci (ph)? But it took a guest turn on "The Big Bang Theory" for Newhart to finally clinch the coveted prize.

The audience at the Creative Arts Emmy gave him a much deserved standing occasion. When you think of all the laughs he's provided America --


BOLDUAN: That's good. All right. Congratulations to him.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a deadly brain eating parasite found in drinking water, but people are still being told that this water is safe to drink. So, is it?

CUOMO: Plus, the latest on this bizarre shooting captured on so many cell phones near New York City's Times Square. Two bystanders wind up taking bullets meant for someone who may have wanted to be shot. So many questions. We'll tell you the story.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Two innocent bystanders were caught in the crossfire, accidentally shot by New York City police officers as the officers fired on an emotionally disturbed suspect near a very crowded Times Square. So, why did police open fire so close to New York's most popular tourist area? CNN's Rosa Flores is here searching for some answers.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that's the question that everybody is asking, why? Some of the bystanders that we talked to say they wished that the officers would have used a taser first instead of a gun. It would have saved them from the chaos and the confusion.



FLORES (voice-over): this amateur video captures the frightening and chaotic scene that broke out near New York's Times Square on Saturday night. Shots ringing out as police try to subdue an emotionally disturbed man in a crowded intersection.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my god! Go, go, go!

FLORES: Kerry-Ann Besbeth was there and says a woman next to her went from shocked to shot.

KERRY-ANN BESBETH, WITNESSED SHOOTING: I kind of got hysterical at that point. I started crying. I realized this is real. That's when it became extremely real for me when I actually saw someone injured.

FLORES: Officers were trying to arrest 35-year-old Glenn Broadnacks (ph), but the three shots police fired missed him, instead, hitting two bystanders.

BESBETH: I literally froze in fear and I just stopped.

FLORES: Besbeth snapped this photo of a woman with the walker with a bullet to the knee. The other victim took a grace wound on her backside. Investigators say Broadnacks (ph) was disoriented, weaving through traffic and seemingly throwing himself in the path of oncoming traffic.