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Stock Market Soars; Devastation in Illinois; Interview with Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois; Surviving an EF4 Tornado; Cheney Vs. Cheney

Aired November 18, 2013 - 16:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: The stock market is reaching heights it's never seen before and my investment banker, Gordon Gekko, assures me nothing can go wrong.

I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD.

The money lead, unemployment still well over 7 percent, many Americans still upside down on their mortgages, and yet the Dow keeps breaking records day after day after day. Are we sitting on another bubble? Is it about to pop?

The national lead. She hid with her family in a basement closet, her husband clinging to the door to keep it shut as a tornado roared overhead. When they emerged, nothing was left. One Illinois wife and mother brings us her harrowing tale of survival.

And the politics lead. It must be that time of year for the traditional airing of grievances. Two sisters have a very public falling-out over same-sex marriage. One is a lesbian, the other a Tea Party-courting conservative, and they both call Vice President Cheney dad.

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We will begin with the money lead, the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on a day the Dow rose above the 16000 mark for the first time ever. It didn't stay there, but this is still the latest in a year full of record-breaking days on Wall Street. You imagine it's something like this in Lower Manhattan right now, scenes of glorious success, extravagant spending, guys yelling into phones, traders standing in I am a God poses like in images out of the trailer for "The Wolf of Wall Street"? That's what I picture.

Yes, the market's riding high, higher than ever before if we don't count inflation. What could possibly, possibly go wrong?

I want to bring in our Zain Asher at the New York Stock Exchange.

Zain, what is pushing the Dow to such dizzying heights?


Well, largely it is the Fed stimulus. Listen, we started off the day right at 16000, right out of the gate, and then we ran into some headwinds. What typically happens when you reach a level like 16000 is that investors naturally will start selling a little bit and taking off some of the profits off the table.

Also, volume was low today so you're bound to see some volatility when volume is low. I did speak to my source and I asked him, listen, when can we actually see the Dow close above 16000? They said listen, you have two key events coming up. You have Ben Bernanke speaking at an economist dinner. You also have the Fed minutes coming out on Wednesday. Investors will be looking closely for any hints that stimulus is bound to continue.

We know the Fed has been holding the market's hand throughout the entire year. We know that we have hit three key milestones so far this year. We started off the year with the Dow at 13000 and in 11 months we have risen 3,000 points. But I do want to emphasize, Jake, that these highs, these milestones are purely psychological.

They do mean a lot more to day traders than they do to institutional investors. If anything, if anything, they do sort of emphasize the disconnect between what the market is doing and what the state of the economy generally is. We have got the Dow roughly around 16000 right now. But, listen, there are still 11 million Americans in this country who are still out of work -- Jake.

TAPPER: Zain Asher, thank you so much.

I just want to add a quote from a famous economist. Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. Permanently high plateau. That was Irving Fisher just days before the stock market crash of 1929 which belongs in a big book of wrong-headed quotations from the '20s, along with H.M. Warner's, "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk"?

With these record-breaking Dow numbers, should we be worried about a bursting bubble? After all, the Dow hit over 14000 in October 2007 before the crash.

I want to bring in Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital. He correctly predicted the housing market crash would overwhelm the financial system. He is also the author of "The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy, How to Save Yourself and Your Country."

Mr. Schiff, thanks for being here. So should we be happy that the Dow's hitting 16000 or should we be scared?

PETER SCHIFF, CEO, EURO PACIFIC CAPITAL: Not if you're concerned about the economy. You know, the rise in the stock market, it's not because of a good economy, but because of bad monetary policy.

What's driving the rally is the Fed pouring all this cheap money into the market, but if they ever do the right thing and turn those spigots off, the market's going to come crashing back down.

TAPPER: How far down do you think it would come crashing down, back to where we started the year, at 13000? SCHIFF: We will go a lot lower than that if the Fed moves away the monetary props. See, the problem for the economy is what the Fed is doing to goose the stock market and the housing market is actually hurting the real economy. It's preventing it from restructuring in a positive way that would produce genuine economic growth and prosperity that would be enjoyed by everyone.

Instead, the Fed is enriching the few at the expense of the many.

TAPPER: So, Mr. Schiff, for those who have their life savings in the market right now, should they be worried now, should they be worried when they hear more directly that there will be a tapering off of this stimulus, this Fed stimulus?


SCHIFF: To be honest, I don't think the Fed's going to taper. I think the people who should be the most worried are the people who have cash in the bank, the people that own government bonds. I actually think you're better off being in the stock market. Even though the rally is phony, it's probably going to continue because the Fed doesn't have the integrity to do the right thing.

TAPPER: What do you think about those who wonder if there's a Janet Yellen effect, the pending Fed chair? Do you think that investors possibly are feeling comfortable about her, that she will become the Fed Reserve chair, she won't immediately scale back the stimulus program you're talking about, that that might be some of the reason here?

SCHIFF: Well, yes, she's going to increase, she's going to crank it up. She's going to do more stimulus. And, remember, Janet Yellen, despite the way the media tries to redefine her, was just as clueless as everybody else. She never warned about anything with respect to the housing market or the financial crisis.

In fact, she dismissed the warnings that other people were making. She said there was no bubble. She thought real estate prices would keep on rising and she thought that even if they went down, which would have surprised her, it wouldn't hurt the economy. That's how little she understood about the economy or real estate market. So I think it's very dangerous to have Janet Yellen as the Fed chairman.

It is going to be more of the same. That's why the economy's going to continue to get worse.

TAPPER: Peter Schiff, thank you so much for your views. We appreciate it.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

TAPPER: Turning now to the national lead, the shock still hanging in the air across the Midwest after a rash of tornadoes blasted entire neighborhoods to splinters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name.


TAPPER: That's a prayer from one of our iReporters as he watches this behemoth spin outside his window. This is in one of the hardest-hit towns, Washington, Illinois.

The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit there was an EF-4 with winds up to 190 miles per hour. This is what the town looks like the day after. Authorities now say that seven people are dead, six in Illinois, one in Michigan. As many as 200 people are hurt in Illinois, where Governor Pat Quinn has declared seven counties disaster areas.

Our own Brooke Baldwin is standing by live in Washington, Illinois.

Brooke, what have the survivors been telling you?

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, it's pretty incredible. You have covered fatal tornadoes as well and when you walk in these homes, I was in this one woman's home today about 90 miles from where I'm standing, whole home full of insulation.

It's a sort of odd sad irony when you walk in this home and you see the utter devastation. We're talking total loss home and you look up and where there should be ceiling, where there should be roof, it is this beautiful blue sky.

They are grateful they are alive. Some of them like we have seen out here all behind me in this debris field, total loss, 400 homes gone. And I'm standing here with a ski, Jake Tapper, because these are the items that have flown. In some cases, I talked to one couple who had just gotten married, and she told me she lost everything in a home behind me. She somehow got a phone call that one of her wedding pictures was found in a town called Joliet about 150 miles away outside of Chicago.

That just speaks to the winds. This was an EF-4 tornado. I want to tell you about this woman, Danielle, because she had a tough time riding out the storm with her three children and her husband in the basement. Thank goodness she and the kids are all OK, but it was the feeling of having to tell this little girl, her 9-year-old, it's going to be OK when deep down, she wasn't actually sure.

Take a listen.


BALDWIN: Does it feel real?

DANIELLE CASSANI, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I'm numb. Numb. I have breakdowns every time I walk in here.

There's no words. I mean, it's complete devastation. Just trying to keep yourself OK for your kids, because your kids are -- you have no idea what they're thinking. I know what was coming. You know, you're trying to say it's going to be OK. We're going to be OK. I don't know.

I keep thinking I'm going to wake up and this is just a bad dream. This stuff doesn't happen to us. It happens to other people, not me. I just -- not that I wish it on anybody else, but I just never thought it would ever, ever, ever happen to me.


BALDWIN: That is what we keep hearing, Jake Tapper. It's November. People here in Illinois, they can do winter, they can do wind, but tornadoes? This is not something they know at all.

And so many of them are grateful for those tornado sirens. The woman you just heard from, she is already just sad that she lost her home before the holidays. She was about to host 30 people for Thanksgiving and now she is just sitting there wondering what to do -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Brooke Baldwin in Washington, Illinois, thanks. And stay warm, Brooke.

We will take a quick break, but we're going to stay on this story.

Next on THE LEAD, I will talk to one tornado survivor who hid in a basement closet with her 2-year-old grandson as her house was literally ripped to pieces above her.

Plus, as his city council plans a vote to strip him of his power, Mayor Rob Ford is busy preparing for the debut of his new television show tonight.

But, first, he's talking to us -- our interview ahead.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

Continuing our national lead and the destruction left by dozens of tornadoes across the Midwest. Six are dead in Illinois, hundreds are injured. Seven counties in Illinois are declared disaster areas.

And I want to bring in the governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, who was out touring the damage. He joins me by phone from Diamond, Illinois.

Governor, thanks so much for joining us. Give us the latest on your state, on the land of Lincoln. How many were killed, how many injured, how many homes destroyed, how many without power?

GOV. PAT QUINN (D), ILLINOIS (via telephone): Well, we have six fatalities. We ask God to bless their immortal souls. Hundreds of injuries that are still being accounted for.

We've had tornadoes in five different places in our state. One called Washington near Peoria, tremendous property damage and only one fatality there.

I was there earlier this morning, I'm leaving Diamond now which was hammered with extensive property damage. Another town called Gifford which is in Champaign County, then a deep southern Illinois, Brookport, lost three people and extensive damage, and New Minden as well.

So, what we have to do is band together as a family to recover and that's what I'm doing today, working with everybody, our first responders who did a heroic job. They're exhausted and we thank them for their great effort. And we literally have hundreds and hundreds of people volunteering to help folks get back on their feet.

TAPPER: Governor, what sort of resources do you have in place to help and do you have everything you need?

QUINN: Yes, we do. I received a call from the president earlier today and we work with the federal government and our Federal Emergency Management Agency. They have been in touch with me as well. Our Illinois Emergency Management Agency is an elite agency. It's been used all over the country to help people recover from natural disasters.

So, we fully have deployed everyone and it's important that we do that. This is a time where people have to come together as a family and that's what we believe in in our state, that we help our neighbor when they need a helping hand.

TAPPER: Did the residents of your state have enough warning? Did the -- the warnings for these tornadoes come soon enough, quick enough, for people to take shelter?

QUINN: Yes. Even on Saturday afternoon, we knew there could be trouble on Sunday. So we were prepared ahead of time. The sirens went off and alerted many, many people. That's how we avoided even more fatalities, I think.

There is a little boy in Washington, Illinois, only 6 years old, Raven Hunter (ph), heard the siren, told his mom they better get to the basement. She said well, wait a minute, I'll be down in a minute. He said, no, come right away, and she brought his other brother and they got to the basement.

And it was good that he did, because the tornado took the top of their house off. And Raven Hunter saved the lives of his family and he deserves high credit. He's a real hero.

TAPPER: Governor, are there other parts of the state that citizens there should avoid so that first responders and clean-up and repair crews can get there?

QUINN: Well, Washington, Illinois, we have a lot of work to be done. We try to encourage people to avoid getting into the traffic there. There's quite a few folks that are there. Other places are not as traffic-focused. It really is inspiring to see so many volunteers who have come forward, including some of our companies. I want to thank Wal-Mart and Coca Cola and Blue Cross Blue Shield. They all stepped forward when we really need them, and it makes a big difference.

TAPPER: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, thank you so much for your time. Good luck with your state's clean-up efforts.

QUINN: OK, thank you. Take care.

TAPPER: Let's bring in someone who survived one of the most severe tornadoes, an EF-4, to be exact -- one that tore through Washington, Illinois, with winds up to 190 miles per hour.

Barb Clark was hiding in the closet of her basement with her family when the tornado destroyed her home. She joins me now by phone.

Barb, thanks for joining us. We're so grateful that you are OK.

Tell us what happened when that tornado came through. What was it like to go through?

BARB CLARK, TORNADO DESTROYED HOME (via telephone): Well, my daughter and I had just gotten home from church. We weren't home 15 minutes. The emergency broadcast came on through the TV telling us that we were in a tornado warning.

As usual, you always think, well, it's probably just another warning that won't amount to anything. When the hail started, my husband sent me and my 2-year-old grandson and my 18-year-old daughter to the basement, and then he actually stayed upstairs and kept an eye out and saw the tornado actually coming towards the house, tried to get the dogs downstairs.

My grandson's mother, which is basically my daughter-in-law, got to our house and in the basement within minutes of our house being destroyed on top of us. So, we're thankful to have everyone alive.

TAPPER: And your 2-year-old grandson was with you. He had to have been terrified. Is he OK?

CLARK: He's doing good. He was playing like nothing last night. I don't know that anything really affected him much. We kind of surrounded and huddled over him to protect him in case any debris did fall down on top of us. I don't really know at 2 years old that he understood anything.

TAPPER: And I just want to make sure, because I'm sure people will want to know -- your family is all fine. How about your neighbors? How did they do?

CLARK: My neighbors, I'm not sure. The neighbor to the west of us, I'm not sure if they were home or not. Both cars were in the garage but I haven't heard. I know that they -- I believe that they were not in the one fatality that I've heard happened. And then the neighbors to the east of us were actually all still at church, at Elevate Church in Morton, Illinois.

TAPPER: We're showing a before and after picture of your house, and it is unbelievable. Barb Clark, we are so glad that you and your family are all right. Thank you so much and good luck.

CLARK: Thank you.

Coming up next, sister versus sister. What is driving Dick Cheney's daughters apart in a very public feud?

And later, they have been accused of not paying their employees enough, and now, one Wal-Mart is asking its workers to donate food to other employees. We'll tell you how Wal-Mart is defending itself against some outrage from this.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

The politics lead now. It's a family dispute that's not uncommon in this era with Americans hardly unanimous on whether same sex marriage should be legal, 56 percent are in support, 36 percent opposed, according to a recent Q Poll.

And now, that rift is on public display, for one of the highest profile families in the nation, the Cheneys.

Dad, of course, you may have heard of him, he was vice president. Daughter Mary was for a time one of the best-known openly gay Republicans in the country.

Now, daughter Liz is running for Senate in Wyoming. Her public statement yesterday that she disagrees with her sister's right to marry her long time partner Heather Poe is putting a family spat in the national spotlight.


RICHARD B. CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I, Richard Bruce Cheney, do solemnly swear --

TAPPER (voice-over): Sure, dad is one of the most controversial vice presidents in American history, but today, it's the Cheney daughters, Mary and Liz, who are causing a stir.

In one corner, Mary, who in the 1990s did outreach to the gay and lesbian community for Coors, who married her long-time partner Heather Poe in 2012 in Washington, D.C. They have two children.

In the other corner, Liz, the older sister, a former State Department official and current contender in a Senate race who recently announced her opposition to same sex marriage.

I asked their dad about the possible tension three weeks ago.

(on camera): Is that going to be an awkward Christmas table conversation?

DICK CHENEY: Well, my position on that issue is well known, I enunciated it in 2000 in a debate with Joe Lieberman.

I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to enter into.

It hasn't changed. I will let my daughters speak for themselves.

TAPPER (voice-over): And, boy, are they!

Sunday afternoon on FOX News, Liz Cheney states her position.

LIZ CHENEY (R), WYOMING SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I do believe in the traditional definition of marriage. I love Mary very much. I love her family very much. This is just an issue on which we disagree.

TAPPER: Later, Mary's wife Heather responds on Facebook, saying, "When Mary and I got married in 2012, Liz didn't hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us. To have her now say she doesn't support our right to marry is offensive to say the least."

LIZ TAPPER: Twenty years ago, Phil and I were married here in Wyoming.

TAPPER: Heather even took a shot at what opponents describe as Liz's carpetbagger status in Wyoming. "I can't help but wonder how Liz would feel if as she moved from state to state, she discovered that her family was protected in one but not the other."