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Wintry Storms Blast Eastern U.S.; South Africa Celebrates Mandela

Aired December 8, 2013 - 08:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until this really stops, I don't think we'll see any improvement at all.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's not over. Just as the South begins to thaw from a massive ice storm, a new system moves into the Northeast, bringing snow, sleet, and ice. The bulls eye for this wicked weather? Our nation's capital.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's a day of prayer in South Africa as the country mourns the loss of a legend. We are live in Johannesburg, remembering Mandela.

PAUL: And some dysfunction to destiny in a tense battle. Auburn claims the SEC title over Missouri. But will they go all the way? The BCS title is at stake.



PAUL: I hope you're waking up to a winning team. Let's put it that way. I am not -- it does not feel good. But that's all right.

BLACKWELL: I knew that before I asked the question though.

PAUL: I know!

Good morning, everybody. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, 8:00 here on the East Coast. It's 5:00 out West. This is NEW DAY SUNDAY.

PAUL: And it might be one of the days you just want to peek out the window and stay inside, because we're talking about ice and snow, and just the cold fact for a large part of the Eastern United States. That's what it is today.

BLACKWELL: Yes. But beyond it just being annoying and in the way, it's also very dangerous. Seven deaths are being blamed or linked to the storm at least. And look for ice and snow to make driving really risky from Southern Ohio, all the way to Washington, D.C. and before the day is done, the system will slide north to Philly, New York, Boston. There's going to be this mixture of ice and sleet and snow and rain and all the junk you really don't want to deal with on the roads.

This is Dallas. Look at this. Miles of drivers stuck on interstate 35 for up to ten hours. I can't even deal with a ten-hour drive much less sitting in one spot for ten hours. The storm also led to hundreds of canceled flights, left thousands of people without power.

PAUL: So we want to go North a little bit, Northeast, to CNN's Tory Dunnan. She's in Roanoke, Virginia.

That storm is moving in there. So, I'm wondering what you're seeing now as compared to say an hour ago. Does it feel any different?

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Christie, you know, it does feel a little bit colder, basically after hearing you guys talk. The theme of the day for most people is going to be: think warm thoughts.

I have to tell you, I'm thinking about Hawaii, headed there for the holidays.

PAUL: Nice.

DUNNAN: But let's talk about what is happening here. A little bit of a different story.

OK. Take a look at the thermometer. It's gone down in the past few hours since we started talking this morning. Now, closer to about 34 or so. That's really going to be the concern.

If it dips below freezing, they're expecting really a thick layer of ice. It's going to be dangerous for driving conditions. They also are talking about obviously the fact that ice gathers on power lines and then trees and things like that.

I want to show you this, though, because so far, obviously, we're not seeing that yet this morning. From the day is far from over. And from the storm really, it's moved from Kentucky to the East Coast. It's going all the way up the East Coast.

It's going to be nasty conditions for everyone. They've had a lot of preparations for this, de-icing some of the roadways ahead of time. And also at the airport, they have staff that is working on 24- hour shifts here. So far, no delays there.

But, Christi and Victor, we'll keep a close eye on everything on this very cold morning.

BLACKWELL: All right. CNN's Tory Dunnan, live in Roanoke, Virginia, this morning. Now, for the folks who aren't headed to Hawaii for the holidays, a Mai Tai does it. I mean, if you're staying in, it will warm you up.

BLACKWELL: Turn up the heat, I suppose. Sure.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in meteorologist Jennifer Gray.

PAUL: Yes. I got to tell you, Jennifer, my parents just left yesterday to drive home from Atlanta to Ohio. And I'm so grateful they got there.


JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, because they really, really got in before it got bad, because we are seeing the second wave continuing to push up into the Northeast. And so already seeing snow across portions of the south even and northern Arkansas and into Missouri.

This is just around now we're expected to see the ice and snow continue to develop as we go through the day today, and then by 5:00 this afternoon, you can see freezing rain, sleet, really pushing into the D.C. area. They could see anywhere from a quarter inch to half an inch of ice accumulation and that's when you weigh down those power lines. We could see power outages anywhere from northern Virginia through D.C., and then up into the Northeast.

And then by the time it makes it to New York City and Boston, it will be more of a wintry mix. They could still deal with sleet and snow though as we go through the overnight into Monday morning. And then it basically turns into a rain event as we head through Monday. More rain for the southeast even on Monday as well.

So what we're looking at for snow totals, up to five inches across portions of Minneapolis and Des Moines, Milwaukee and then lesser amounts, one to two inches, as we get around the D.C. area.

So, we'll be watching this over the next couple of days.

BLACKWELL: All right. Meteorologist Jennifer Gray, thanks.

GRAY: No problem.

BLACKWELL: People around the world are mourning the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela. But the current president in South Africa, Jacob Zuma, he's urging his country to celebrate Mandela and everything he stood for. Millions of people across the country are doing just that.

These are the streets of Johannesburg earlier. But they gathered in places of worship, homes and places all over South Africa to honor Mandela. World leaders are preparing to do the same as well.

President Obama, a trio of former U.S. presidents also will attend Mandela's memorial service. That's on Tuesday.

CNN's Robyn Curnow joins us now from Johannesburg.

Robyn, you've been discussing this move as a South African, what it means to spend the next few days celebrating Nelson Mandela.

Tell us more about that and what you've been seeing today.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can hear it as well. This constant lament, this constant song of thanks just around me here in the streets. People continue to come here. It's becoming like a pilgrimage, I think.

And just remember, this is a very suburban street in a quiet wealthy area of Johannesburg and ten blocks that way, eight blocks that way, people are parking their cars and walking, pushing strollers, bringing their children along, elderly people coming with bouquets of flowers. Others have picked flowers from their gardens.

This is a very South African affair. It's a Mandela's South Africa, because it's such a multiracial crowd. You have people from all walks of life. And I think if there is ever any tribute to Nelson Mandela and the leadership that he showed more than 20 years ago when he brought this nation together is literally behind me.

Look at this picture. Listen to it. This is his legacy.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And we'll hear more about the legacy at the events that are scheduled throughout the week. We know it's middle of the afternoon there. The Mandela family is expected to give an update this hour on funeral arrangements.

Have they given that update or are we still expecting that?

CURNOW: We are waiting for that update from the family. Yesterday, they just said their thanks. They said he had time for everybody, kings and queens, great and good. And I think we're going to hear that kind of comment again.

In terms of the schedule for the next few days, we're going to see all the heads of state coming on Tuesday, along with 90,000 South Africans packed into that soccer stadium. And then, you know, the actual state funerals which takes place in the hills of Qunu, a remote rural area where Nelson Mandela wanted to be buried. We're going to be seeing all of those events as well as Nelson Mandela lying in state for three days during the week at the Union Buildings which is the seat of government here where he took oath as the first black president.

I think also what's important to remember when we look at all of this and the fact that churches, synagogues, temples, mosques across this country, the pavements have become prayer circles.

Just remember, Nelson Mandela was not a religious man. In fact his daughter told me that he really didn't believe in God. He believed in infinity. This is a man who really used his own self- confidence, his own inner discipline, his own strength rather than faith.

I think everybody around here is acknowledging that. He in a way has become like some sort of spiritual myth at the moment. BLACKWELL: And, Robyn, we're going to expand that conversation about forgiveness which many people associate with Nelson Mandela in the realm of religion and outside of religion.

Robyn Curnow, live in Johannesburg for us -- thank you.

PAUL: Now, I don't know if you heard about this South Carolina sheriff who is defying President Obama's order to lower the American flag to honor Nelson Mandela until sunset tomorrow. We're talking about Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark who says he doesn't think it's right.


SHERIFF RICK CLARK, PICKENS COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA: To show a sign of respect for what Nelson Mandela has done, I have no problem with lowering it in South Africa, in their country. But for our country, it should be the people, in my opinion, who have sacrificed for our country.


PAUL: Now, while it's rare for U.S. president to order flags lowered for a non-U.S. citizen, it has happened. George W. Bush, in fact, did it for Pope John Paul II in 2005, and Bill Clinton did it for former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The practice goes back to 1965, when President Johnson lowered flags for Winston Churchill.

BLACKWELL: Still to come on NEW DAY, last night, Florida State didn't just beat Duke -- who did you pick in that game?

PAUL: Let's not talk about that.

BLACKWELL: OK, I just don't (ph).

They crushed Duke. Check out the quarterback there, hurdling over the defense for the touchdown en route to victory. Highlights, upsets from all of Saturday's big games. That's coming up.

PAUL: Plus, exploring Mandela's message of forgiveness. We're going to talk about what it means to forgive. And if it matters why you choose to do it?


GRAY: All right. A cold morning across its Northeast. NFL games going on.

And we are going to see the Eagle hosting Detroit a little later this afternoon. At 1:00, it is going to be cold. Temperatures at kickoff, 34 degrees, possible snow and sleet across the area.

And then we have the Redskins at Kansas City going off. Kickoff, 30 degrees, freezing rain and sleet in D.C. And then, very chili in Denver, a cold 12 degrees. So, it is going to be a cold Sunday for NFL football, guys. It is just going to be brutal.

BLACKWELL: Yes. So, let's talk college football.

GRAY: Let's talk it.

JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS: Yes, let's warm it up with some college football.

BLACKWELL: Yesterday was a big day. I mean, it seems now that national championship is set, right?


BLACKWELL: I think there is little debate about who is playing in the national championship game.

PAUL: Huge upset though, Joe.

CARTER: Yes, I know. I know you feel bad.

Ohio State, I mean, unbelievable. They hadn't lose a game in two years.

PAUL: Thank you for the Twitter love people are sending me, though, even though they are saying, oh, (INAUDIBLE), like come on, just give me a little moment.

CARTER: You know, Ohio state certainly picked a bad time to lose their first game in 24 games. I mean, all they needed is one more win and they would have been playing Florida State in the national championship.

BLACKWELL: Just one more.

CARTER: One more win.

PAUL: Oh, man, I've got more love from Twitter and Facebook than I have here.

CARTER: They were up by a touchdown in the third quarter. But then, Michigan State came roaring back and upset Ohio State, 34-24. So, now, Michigan State is headed to its first Rose Bowl in 25 years. Ohio State heads to the couch. They'll go (INAUDIBLE)

Of course, in celebration of the first Rose Bowl in a quarter century, MSU students, well, they burned couches, tree branches and pretty much anything else they could find.

PAUL: Yes.

CARTER: East Lansing police had to show up in riot gear. No tear gas was needed here and no injuries reported. Just good old fashioned American celebration. Love that. PAUL: This is the scene of the iconic landmark known as Toomer's Corner, the trees may be gone. But the tradition continues. All that white stuff, guys, toilet paper. Yes.

Auburn fans, still in the streets there, to celebrate their team, headed to the national championship game, of course, because Auburn took care of business earlier in the day by beating Missouri in a 59- 42 shootout. What a remarkable game that was. And what a remarkable turn around it's been for Auburn.

You know, no one game this team a shot at the beginning at the season, 0-8 last year in the sec. Now, they're 12-1 overall SEC champs and now, they're headed to Pasadena, where I'll see them in the national championship game against the number one team in the country, Florida State.

Jameis Winston, of course, the Heisman favorite. He led his team to a very easy win over Florida State. Florida State, of course, the ACC champs. They finish regular season a perfect 13-0.

So, very little debate about who the two teams will be in the national championship. Guys, this marks the end of an era. The BCS is over. Say good-bye. All the college football fans complaining about it can complain no more.

Next year, it goes to a four team play-off. Something a lot of football fans were wanting. They want a true national champion. Then 8-12, 16 and so on.

PAUL: Right, right.


BLACKWELL: Beyond the championship, we have an award to hand out ourselves today. This is the award of the day.

Now, before the games yesterday these three came out on top.


PAUL: We don't know what happened to Victor.

GRAY: You just struck out of that.

BLACKWELL: I deposit really know much about the teams. I admit, I don't know much about college football.

CARTER: I like your honesty.


So, you know, we have the skill and we have some beginners who were choosing, beginner's luck.

Jennifer --

CARTER: I don't think it's luck.


CARTER: I think she really is skilled at college football.

BLACKWELL: Well, I'll admit that.

GRAY: I did guess maybe one of the games.

BLACKWELL: So here's the standings. Joe missed the Missouri game. Christy, Ohio State. We already talked about that.

PAUL: Look, if I do not --

CARTER: Yes, that is betting with your heart.

PAUL: -- choose Ohio State, then my father would disown me. He went to law school. So, I don't have a choice.

BLACKWELL: And then there is the duke pick.

PAUL: I just want to be different. I thought what good is it? If I have to lose, I lose. So, guess what? I lose.

CARTER: So, remind me, I don't want to go to Vegas with you. I want to go Vegas with you.

PAUL: Exactly. Congratulations to Jennifer.

GRAY: Thank you.

PAUL: You're the winner.

GRAY: Imaginary trophy, yes.

BLACKWELL: Yes, bragging rights.

GRAY: Thank you.


BLACKWELL: Joe, Jennifer, thank you.

CARTER: You bet.

PAUL: All right. So, we're talking live with the new host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES", next.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you're watching NEW DAY SUNDAY. Stay with us.


PAUL: Hey, you know, we want to welcome Brian Stelter to CNN. He is the new host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", which is going to be here at CNN.

BLACKWELL: Yes, every Sunday.

And, Brian, good to have you. Welcome to CNN.

BRIAN STELTER, HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: Thank you. Great to be here.

BLACKWELL: So, each week, you're going to talk about the top stories and media's approach to those stories. For your first ever "RELIABLE SOURCES," you're looking at the one year anniversary of the events in Newtown, Sandy Hook.

PAUL: Yes, Sandy Hook.

STELTER: That's right. We are looking both back a couple of days at the 911 tapes that were released this week were excruciating to hear and then looking forward to the anniversary, which is next weekend, and wondering whether news organizations like CNN are actually going to come into Newtown and use the town as backdrop for their coverage of the anniversary.

CNN, for example, saying it's not going to come to the town that day. It doesn't want to disrupt the families that are there. But it's an interesting media ethics issue that we're going to talk to a reporter who actually lives in Newtown.

PAUL: Everybody remembers where they were, you know, when they heard about what is happening. You just couldn't walk away from your TV to watch it. I want to know, Brian --

STELTER: All I wanted to do that day is go and hug my mom. I think everybody across the country feels that way.

PAUL: Yes, and my kids. Yes. It was -- I lost it a couple times on air. I'll admit it. That was one of the toughest days on air for me ever.

I know that you're also going to be talking -- or did you talk, rather, you had an exclusive with Ryan Seacrest.

STELTER: That's right.

PAUL: And you've got an interesting little tidbit from him, yes?

STELTER: We did. That kind of sums up "RELIABLE SOURCES" in a nutshell. You know, we cover the wide spectrum of media from media ethics to entertainment. With Ryan Seacrest, I was really curious to ask him about the "Today" show, because a couple of years ago, there was a lot of talk, reporters whether he was ever going to co-host the "Today" show.

That talked has died down. So, I asked him if it was still a possibility. And his answer surprised me. Here's what he said.


RYAN SEACREST, TV HOST: Look, I mean, as far as I'm concerned, everything is -- I hope everything is a possibility. You know, I like to leave every door open. If it is open, I think that is up to them to decide.

STELTER: Yes. You've been contributing a few pieces.

SEACREST: Yes. I certainly -- I am a type of person that likes to try and leave every door open. And say yes to as many things as I can. So hopefully, you know if, that door is open, sure.

STELTER: Yes, but it is the kind of show that you'd enjoy doing?

SEACREST: I like --

STELTER: I wonder sometimes if you're too big for the "Today" show. You have too much going what -- I mean is you've got too much going on already.

SEACREST: Well, I like live broadcasting. I think that, you know, morning shows have evolved. There's been a paradigm shift in the style of the shows. The style of show that I watched when I was a kid and you watched when you were a kid is a little bit different than it is now. So, yes, I'm hoping to.


STELTER: Here's the context of that. His NBC deal is coming up in a few months. Of course, the "Today" show, Matt Lauer is some day going to leave. So, people are wondering if Ryan is the kind of guy who could replace him.

BLACKWELL: So, Brian, many people know your name from bylines in "The New York Times" and covering media and now your face is on television. It will be every week.


BLACKWELL: Tell us about this transition from print to television. Has it been a challenge?

STELTER: You know, it's been easier than I expected. The makeup is still taking time to get used to.


BLACKWELL: It will take some time, yes.

STELTER: But there is a similarity that I discovered. You know, in print, the newspaper has to come out every day. On television, the deadline is even more severe. It has to come out every minute.

It reminds me of the paperweight that my high school newspaper editor gave me. She said -- it had the best words I ever seen about journalism. It said says, the greatest inspiration is the deadline.

I think that's true in television and in newspapers.

PAUL: Isn't that truth?

BLACKWELL: Absolutely.

Brian Stelter, host of "RELIABLE SOURCES."

PAUL: Welcome to the CNN family. We're so glad to have you here, Brian. And good luck today with your first program.

STELTER: Thank you, in a few hours.

PAUL: Eleven a.m. Eastern, People. Yes, 11:00 a.m. Eastern. We'll be watching, Brian. Take care.

BLACKWELL: Still to come on NEW DAY, finding the strength and we've been having this conversation, the strength to forgive.

PAUL: Yes. We're going to examine one of Nelson Mandela's most enduring messages and discover how to live it in our own lives.


PAUL: All right. It's bottom of the hour. And a hearty hello to you on this Sunday. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Usually you say hello!

PAUL: Hello! Well, people from "Seinfeld" recognize that.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we all recognize it from you doing it now.

I'm Victor Blackwell.

Here are five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

Up first, a serious story for a lot of people. Brutal winter storm going to blast the Eastern U.S. with ice and snow and sleet today. Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, all about to be hit. Making the Monday morning commute, of course, a tricky one. And this is even more than just annoying. It's dangerous. Seven deaths are linked to this storm.

PAUL: Do be careful out there.

Number two, in southern California today, thousands of fans of "Fast and Furious" star Paul Walker expected to attend a memorial at the site of the actor's fiery car crash. Police say speed may have been a factor in last week's crash. Walker's friend Roger Rodas who was driving was also killed.

BLACKWELL: Number three, evangelist Billy Graham's health has taken a turn for the worst. That is according to his son Franklin. He says his father got an infection just after his 95th birthday and he's not been able to get his strength back. Graham's son added his dad is generally doing well for his age but he is extremely weak.

PAUL: Number four, U.N. inspectors expected to wrap up work at a key Iranian nuclear facility and then return to Vienna. Iran signed a major accord on its nuclear program with western powers last month. Today's inspection is the first since that deal was struck, even though that was something outside that deal. It wasn't actually in it.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this is byproduct of the deal.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Number five, South Africans are celebrating Nelson Mandela during a national day of prayer.