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Holiday Travel Torture; Nor'Easter Batters Buffalo; Weather Snarling Air Travel; Syria To Participate In Peace Talks; Police Rescue Three Arizona Girls; No New Trial For O.J. Simpson; Princeton To Get Meningitis Vaccine; A Time For Change?; Pope Francis Sets the Stage; Obamacare Support Remains Low

Aired November 27, 2013 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's just nothing you can do. Just glare ice and you're a passenger in your own car.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Going nowhere fast. Tens of millions today may not get where they're going. A foot of snow, driving rain and wind may cause even more trouble than first thought. We'll tell you what is heading your way.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're covering it all this morning, planes, trains and automobile. Live reports across the storm zone with everything you need to know to make it to your destination.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The birth control debate. The Supreme Court now taking up another challenge to Obamacare. Should employers be forced to provide birth control to employees? The debate is already raging.

CUOMO: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

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


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to "NEW DAY." It is Wednesday, November 27, six o'clock in the east. And we hope you have many reasons to be thankful this holiday season, but the weather, ain't one of them. A massive nor'easter on about as heavy a travel day as we have the day before Thanksgiving.

Just take a look at the size of the storm. It's stretching from Georgia all the way up to Maine and is expected to get worse before it gets better.

BOLDUAN: And we're talking several major airport hubs including New York City -- the New York City area all in the path of the storm, from the mid-Atlantic all the way to New England, some of the nation's most heavily traveled highways are also in harm's way. You're about to experience the power and reach of CNN flexing our muscles. We're covering the massive storm and how it could impact your travel in the air, by rail and on the roads. Our coverage begins with Indra Petersons in the snow at Pittsburgh suburb of Coraopolis. Hi, Indra.

PETERSONS: Good morning and smiling because it's snowing, and because I made it to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania safely. But I want to give you a look at the snow and the icy conditions that are out on the road currently this morning.

We've seen several inches already just this morning even about 3 inches to 4 inches yesterday. And unfortunately for all the travelers trying to get out ahead of the storm, today it looks like even more dicey conditions are in the forecast.


PETERSONS (voice-over): A massive and powerful nor'easter pummeled the northeast overnight bringing heavy snow and rain and causing dangerous icy road. Satellite images from space captured the storm at one point stretching from Florida to Nova Scotia, a storm that's affecting more than 43 million travelers as they brave the elements to be with loved ones this Thanksgiving.

(on camera): Here in Atlanta, steady rain is causing some headache. The roads are wet. They are sleek and they are causing some problems for the afternoon commute.

PETERSONS (voice-over): Snow has already blanketed parts of the Midwest. In Wisconsin, crews scrambled to keep up with the icy roadways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a point where there is nothing you can do. It's just glare ice. You're just a passenger on your own car.

PETERSONS: The nor'easter already blamed for scores of accidents and at least a dozen deaths.

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're here at Irwin, Pennsylvania outside of Pittsburgh. This region could see between 5 and 9 inches of snow. A transportation official tells me about 135 crews going to be out in force in over 80 trucks trying to battle this.

PETERSONS: In Arkansas, freezing rain led to this 12 car pileup.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get on the highway, next thing I know, I'm spinning.

PETERSONS: And up to a foot is possible this western parts of New York and Northwest Pennsylvania. Meanwhile winds are expected to intensify over the northeast into Thanksgiving morning. Those winds leaving the fate of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade up in the air.


PETERSONS: We're now in the toughest time here of the weather system. We knew it would be the early morning hours where we're seeing the strongest rain moving in, heavier snow starting to fall and those winds picking up, so it looks like dicier conditions especially at the airports this morning - Chris and Kate.

CUOMO: All right, Indra, thank you for being out there exposed for us. We do know that thousands of families are going to be forced to rethink their Thanksgiving travel plans and that's just the way it is. The warning from New York State Police, prepare for the worst. Why?

Well, the first snowstorm of the season is battering the region and may be worse than expected. Let's bring in George Howell. Right now, he's outside Buffalo, New York. Buffalo is one of the snowiest cities in the country. George, thanks for being out there. I hope you have family or friends in the area, pal, because it going to be tough to get out of there.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, here is the thing. You talk to any grizzled Buffalo resident who knows the snow. They say this is no big deal, but you this area got substantial snowfall if you take a look here. I mean, that's anywhere from, what, I don't know, 3 inches to 4 inches of snow.

A lot of snow that fell and when you look out at the roads, that's the big concern. The type of snow we're looking at, it's sort of a wet heavy, thick snow, slushy on the roads. However, we have seen guys at the "Plows Out." We know that the city of Buffalo has anywhere from 25 to 30 plows.

They are making sure the roads are clear and safe for travel and that's the thing especially for people who are not accustomed to this weather who may be traveling through the region -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, George, thanks so much. Keep an eye on it. We'll check back in with you. And if you're traveling by air, many of you are seeing us in the airport right now, you probably already know this. Brace yourself. Flights are already being canceled because of the weather.

And the dominos could start falling if more flights are grounded at major hubs in New York and Philadelphia. Take a look at all of these flights in the air right now. More than 3,000 planes over the United States, but so far, more than 100 flights are canceled and that number expected to get worse as the morning progresses. Rene Marsh is at Reagan National Airport outside Washington with more.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. You know, foot traffic is picking up here at Reagan National Airport, but it's all about this, it's all about these screens here. This is what everyone going to be locked on. They want to know is my flight on time? Is it delayed? It is canceled. Looks good now, but later on today, we expect these feeds to really light up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the end of the day, no one can control Mother Nature. MARSH (voice-over): The ripple effect of this nasty nor'easter causing problems into the night for air travelers. The timing and sheer size of the storm could not be worse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A storm this large throughout the east coast is going to have some effect on the flight system.

MARSH: With just hours before Thanksgiving, delays and cancellations adding up quickly as the storm pummels some of the nation's busiest airports. On average, one in ten flights go through New York airports.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With 80 percent of our airplanes touching the congested northeast, we're acutely aware that things can go wrong relatively quickly.

MARSH: Some flights circled airports in the south on Tuesday until they could land. Low clouds and heavy rain delaying one in three fleets taking off late from Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The weather here delayed her flight.

MARSH: Some air travelers deciding to change their plans in hopes of beating the storm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was very happy I booked the day I did because if I booked tomorrow, probably get delayed.

MARSH: The Peterson family planned on driving from North Virginia to Massachusetts, but changed their minds after seeing the forecast. They got a last minute flight instead.

JENNIFER PETERSON, PASSENGER: It was painful. We could have gone to the Bahamas for a lot less I think.

MARSH: Mother Nature doesn't always cooperate with a great Thanksgiving escape. Once we get through today, forecasters and travelers alike look ahead to Sunday, the busiest travel day of the year.


MARSH: All right, so we just saw a delay pop up here at Reagan National. We can tell you nationwide there are roughly about 150 delays as we speak. That number is pretty low now. We expect that number will definitely go up. Just as far as specific airports, most delays we're seeing is at Charlotte, Hartsfield in Atlanta and O'Hare. The most cancellations that we're seeing is Boston Logan, Newark and LaGuardia. Back to you, Chris and Kate.

CUOMO: Rene, thank you very much. This is one of those stories, very few, where I really hope we're wrong about what we're saying. I hope that they figure out how to handle it. But many of you are in the airports, watching us, but it's airports, other hubs are already filling up with people getting hit with a delay. Take a look inside Penn Station, one of the massive hubs here in New York City, you can see travelers gathering in what hopefully going to not become the board of broken dreams. So far this storm is more of an annoyance than it is a real impediment to train travel. No reporting of any significant problems yet.

We'll keep track of all the different routes for the many families who are trying to get to loved ones. And there is a lot of news you need to be aware of in the world, as well and we'll give you that right now.

PEREIRA: Good morning, guys and good morning to you at home. Here is what is making news this morning. Syria is announcing it's going to send a delegation to Geneva in January for peace talks. The goal is to bring an end to that country's bloody civil war.

But Damascus is rejecting calls for President Assad to remove himself from the process. Opposition leaders say they haven't even decided whether they going to participate vowing to keep fighting government forces whether the talks take place or not.

A scene of horror discovered inside a family home in Arizona. Police say three sisters were imprisoned for two years separated from one another, kept in filthy conditions and fed only once a day. Those girls ages 12, 13 and 17 were rescued after two of them ran to a neighbor's house. Police said the girl's mother and stepfather have now been charged with child abuse.

No new trial for O.J. Simpson. A Nevada judge upholding Simpson's 2007 conviction for armed robbery and kidnapping in a case involving sports memorabilia dealers. The judge rejected Simpson's claim that he was misrepresented by his original attorney and didn't get a fair trial. So he'll remain in a Nevada prison where he's serving up to 33 years. He is not eligible for parole for four more years.

Students at Princeton University will have access to a meningitis vaccine, not yet licensed in the U.S. December 9th. The CDC took the unusual step of approving this vaccine for use on the school's campus. Princeton as you may recall is battling a strain of the disease that can be life threatening. Eight cases have been confirmed so far.

It is an annual tradition for Thanksgiving at the White House. Today President Obama pardons a pair of turkeys, their names, Caramel and Popcorn. They going to have a chance to be spared and live out the rest of their lives in retirement at Mt. Vernon. After the ceremony, the first family take part in a community service event. This always makes me smile.

BOLDUAN: Well, they do make funny noises. What are their names again?

CUOMO: Reid and McConnell?

PEREIRA: Caramel and Popcorn.

CUOMO: Do you think it's right to name them after food? Tweet #newday, should their names be Reid and McConnell.

BOLDUAN: Or what should they be if you so choose?

CUOMO: Coming up on "NEW DAY", Pope Francis released an 84-page manifesto. What is in there? Will the church really tackle some of the big issues? We'll explain why the pope is calling for a church that is, quote, "bruised, hurting and dirty."

BOLDUAN: And how are highways shaping up on this busy holiday travel? We are going to keep you updated throughout the show. Here is a live shot of the highways right outside New York. Our panel on the ground is going to be along the I-95 corridor to tell us what to expect.


CUOMO: Welcome back to "NEW DAY". Pope Francis is putting out a new play book of sorts. The 84-page document is being hailed as a call for major changes in the Roman Catholic Church starting at the top.

Let us unpack the significance of what the pope wrote. We have Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of "Network." Thank you for joining us, Sister, and Father Dave Dwyer, host of the busted "Hello" show on Sirius XM. Thank you to your both. An early Thanksgiving to you both.

So let's start with the headline. Father, I'll start with you because you're closest to us. What do you see and hear that should be exciting in the true meaning of change?

FATHER DAVE DWYER, CSP, HOST, "THE BUSTED HALO SHOW", SIRIUS XM: Well, I think playbook is an excellent word to use. People have been asking about this title of the document. It's an apostolic exhortation. And exhorting to me is parallel to not coming out with some sort of new doctrine or dogma. The pope is not proclaiming something we all need now to believe, but like a coach at half-time in the locker room. He's not changing the plays. He's giving us a pep talk and saying if we're really Christians, this is how we need to live.

BOLDUAN: And Sister, I want to get your take on what you see in this document because people are calling it significant and big change, but there are some significant things that aren't changing, not changing the church's position on homosexuality, abortion, and not changing the church's position on women in the priesthood. What does this document do for women, do you think?

SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF NETWORK: I think for women what it does is that it moves more into specifics of where we may get engaged and where the church can open up. I really appreciate that Pope Francis is saying the church, too, needs to be converted and that we all need to change. And part of that change is giving women a place of authority, of responsibility, of inclusion in the decisions that are made.

But what he does is in the context of the broader world that the church needs to reach out to all of the world whether they are baptized Catholics or not, but to welcome all in. And this is to be done in the spirit of joy, which is a big change in attitude.

PEREIRA: But it's interesting, Father. The Holy Father wrote that the male-only priesthood is not a question open to discussion. So not pointedly addressing that, but talking about the overall role that women should be having in the church, correct?

FATHER DAVE DWYER, CSP, HOST, "THE BUSTED HALO SHOW": In fact, he was notably critical of many of the church -- not only the church's structures, but kind of the culture of the church. He mentions specifically clericalism -- meaning it's only the priest that gets to do stuff or have power or authority, and he specifically criticized, you know, we're supposed to be servants.

He says the vast majority of the church are laypeople and we who are clerics are here to serve. And so if we get into this mindset of power or authority or nice positions, he said then the church turns into a museum. The joy of the gospel is not to be kept from anyone, he says.

CUOMO: Fair criticism that the pope at this point is getting more credit for what he says about attitude than what he does let's say for rectitude, behaviors and what is morally responsible in the church.

So your Paulist, this is perfect, right? Because the Paulists started in North America. You ministry has catered to the church and its application here specifically.

So sinners like me, right, I'm in your wheel house, Father, what do I read in here that shows us advancement, that shows, oh, they're addressing the things? OK, not women in the priesthood, but what about married priests? Why aren't these things touched in something that's 84 pages long?

DWYER: Well, one of the things that he says that begins to open up where we are for instance, is he says, you know, I need to address the issue of decentralization he called it. While neither Pope John Paul II or Benedict XVI put out a papal document that said, let's centralize authority and governance in Vatican. That's what happened essentially over 35 years. Pope Francis is saying not every decision needs to happen in the culture of Vatican City. We need to give more power and authority like we would call state's rights as opposed to the federal government.

BOLDUAN: And one big issue, Sister, is that he really took on was economic inequality and really in the world. He used one thing that is getting picked up a lot is one phrase that is really politically charged here in the U.S., you know, is trickle down -- trickle-down economics. That's part of a lot of political debate.

Why do you think he used that phrase number one and, also, what do you make of this message?

CAMPBELL: Well, I think what he's being very clear about is that the church's role is to be in the world and that the role of Catholics and Christians is to live in the world engaged in poverty. And he's very clear that trickle-down economics does not work. And being from Argentina, he experienced the failure of trickle-down. He also says at the heart of our social ills is income and wealth disparity, the inequality that exists. And he says that it's the state's role, the state has a key role in helping to change that inequality and they must step up to address the ills of our time.

It's a very exciting document. The folks on Capitol Hill really need to read it. It also says that the state must govern and find common solutions for ways forward. This idea of gridlock on Capitol Hill is really contrary to what the pope is speaking about.

BOLDUAN: Do you think when you -- people are fascinated by the pope and this document says quite a lot. But are Catholics going to notice anything significantly different today than they did yesterday?

DWYER: Probably not in a day. But this is like a vision statement, strategic plan, if you will, to borrow a term for the next five years or so. He's talking about being joyful and sharing. So I hope they notice that we're not all sourpusses. That's the term he keeps using.

CUOMO: The mission of the church and not focusing on what have been hot button topics.

DWYER: Right.

CUOMO: I think it's been well-received by Catholics and non- Catholics.

What will be interesting to me, the attack on capitalism is not new for the Catholic Church. It was actually added to the list of deadly sins, you know, like the really sins. You know, there, you had greed and gluttony. Now, they just have, you know, capitalism, that's been added to the list.

But what I want to know is do you think the pope is going to take a step and started a vow creating for these policies in the realm of politics? Do you think he'll start sending a message to the Paulist orders like your own and say, you have to get out there and you have to start telling the faithful that these types of politicians do not represent -- that's been a big step for the church.

What do you think?

DWYER: He certainly is saying we need to get out there. We need to stop being inside the doors of the church. We need to be in society, in culture and in politics. He is saying that.

CUOMO: Maybe that was being fight by what we heard, the recent comments of people. Sister, what do you think about this final point? The pope had been receiving some analysis from political figures. Oh, he seems kind of liberal, I wonder what this means. I'll wait to see.

Do you think that there is some anticipation that this pope may be putting out messages that have specific political vent?

CAMPBELL: Well, I think he's putting out messages that the gospel calls us to care for those at the margins of our society and we're failing in our faith and we're failing in our society. He points out the social ills that are corrupting our establishment exist worldwide. The whole lack of hope, lack of joy, the isolation, individualism -- he points out is wrong and that we are community.

He's calling us to come together and solve the problems and he's saying that we -- the gospel gives us the tools on do it. I think that is a great amount of hope for everyone.

DWYER: One of my sound bites is he says, "The poor are still waiting."


CUOMO: Well, as Sister said earlier, she hopes this document is read by those down in Washington. I don't know who needs to hear it more right now.

Happy Thanksgiving to both of you again. Thank you for explaining the situation.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up next on "NEW DAY": Obamacare supposed to be up and running for most users in the next few days. But attention is being diverted again as a key part of the law could be struck down by the Supreme Court. They're at least going to take it up to consider it.

So are Americans calling the law a failure? We have new poll numbers to tell you about.

CUOMO: And you know about the football concussion crisis. Is the league doing all that it can for the players? That's the question. CNN polled the people. We reveal surprising results.

And we're also keeping a close eye of course on all the different ways to get home. We know that it is a desperate situation. We will tell you where the storm is headed and hopefully divine intervention will not be necessary to get you where you need to be.

Stay with us.

BOLDUAN: Full circle.

CUOMO: Full circle. Thanks.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to "NEW DAY". It's time now for a political gut check of the morning.

Obamacare is heading back to the Supreme Court. The justices agreed to review another part of the health care law. But first, we're just days away from the end of the month when the administration said the Web site will be fixed and up and running for most users. And almost two months in the rollout, 58 percent of Americans oppose the new law. But there is more to it. Let's dig deeper into the numbers.

CNN chief national correspondent John King is here to break it down for us.

So John, you've got 58 -- we can throw up the poll numbers. You have 58 percent in the latest CNN/ORC poll saying they oppose the law, 40 percent say they favor it. That seems status quo really over the same opposition that the law has faced over the same few months.

Break down the numbers for us, though. Take us into it. What do you see?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the breakdown is very critical because, Kate, you will hear some Republicans that used this poll and say nearly six in 10 Americans oppose the health care law. It's a disaster. We have to get rid of it.

You look for Republicans to say that. But most of them will probably leave out the asterisk and there's a key asterisk.

If you look at the opposition to this law, 14 percent opposed because they think it's not liberal enough, these who wanted a single payer system, who wanted more government involvement. Those people on the left who are probably saying to President Obama I told you so, you went with a market based system that's very complicated. That's one of the reasons you're having this problem. You should have let the government take over the entire thing.

So this is one of the numbers. A lot of volatile in the poll numbers in recent weeks. This one has stayed pretty standard and pretty steady in the breakdown of people who opposed the law, and the people who opposed it because they think the president didn't go far enough.

CUOMO: Look, tell me what you think on this, John. It seems very clear from these poll numbers that the Democrats are losing the war of the explanation of Obamacare. They're losing the war of words.

The problem with that is a lot of the reason that they're losing is because of the fear of the unknown. That's one of the things I've been trying to dig in to. Tell me your take on that. Like how much legit push back is -- yes, the rollout stinks, but the predictions are all negative in the way that's hard to substantiate at this point, doesn't it?

KING: That is the argument the president has been trying to make that, look, blame me, we blew the rollout, but have some patience, in six months or a year, you're going to like this plan. And unlike most politicians in Washington, the American people actually seem to have an open mind on this question. Look at our poll numbers here.

Will problems facing health care law eventually be solved? Yes, 54 percent. No, 45 percent. So there is an open mind among the public that, you know, only 8 percent think it's been a success so far. So if you're the White House, you're thinking, wow, that's a pretty tough verdict for the American people and yet again, unlike most of the politicians, they're pretty open minded. They think, you know, all right, the president blew it, let's see if he can learn a lesson and get it right. A majority there 54 percent.

So there's a potential silver lining here. We've beaten the president up a little bit in recent days with all the bad poll numbers. If they get it right, there is a potential silver lining that they can say, OK, learned our lesson.

BOLDUAN: And also the top line polls we were talking about, the fact they stayed pretty steady in terms of opposition or support of the past few months, is that also kind of seen as good news for the administration that despite the negative headline after negative headline, and the botched rollout -- the support, they haven't lost more support.

KING: I would say it's less bad news for the administration. I wouldn't call it, not so much good news to the administration. We talked a bit about this yesterday when you saw that swing in our poll numbers about who people favor when they're thinking about voting for Congress next year.

Look, history tells you next year is a tough one for the president. The recovery is not as strong as they would like. People are concerned. Some people opposed to the health care law.

In the sixth year of a two-year administration, the sixth year, the party in power almost always loses seats. George W. Bush lost 30 seats in the 2006 midterm.

So, history is against the president here. This is one potential silver lining. There are still a lot of things the president needs to do.

A normal political environment, which is about where we are now to end the year is bad for the Democrats next year, they need an abnormal political environment where people get mad again at the Republicans like they were after the shutdown.

So, the president's biggest hope is that he gets Obamacare right, they fix the problems, people feel better about it next spring and that somehow the Republicans give help some other political opening to stage a rebound.

BOLDUAN: I want to get your take on the politics of the fact the Supreme Court has decided to take up another part of the health care law, but also the fact that the president, as he was making his swing through the West Coast over the past few days, you really have seen a change in his tone. It seemed that he's done apologizing and he's now going back on offense in terms of Obamacare in general. The fact that he's trying to show the benefits of the law instead of just saying we're sorry for a bad rollout.

KING: And playing to the key pieces of the Democratic constituency, talking to lower income people saying, this helps you a great deal. You had no health insurance at all. This is going to give you access. This is going to be great for your family.