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Icy Airports Cause Delays; Saying Goodbye to Mandela; Blamed For Praising Mandela

Aired December 9, 2013 - 08:00   ET


INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): The dangerous mix of snow and ice caused this 50-car pileup on the Pennsylvania turnpike killing at least one person. Roads and highways in the Milwaukee area also had their share of problems. Three separate wrecks involving over 100 cars, buses and ditches, semi-trailers jack knifed causing a number of injuries.

LUIS ALANIS, BUS PASSENGER IN I-94 ACCIDENT: It was bad. You could barely see up the road, dodging cars, we ended up in the ditch.

PETERSONS: Heavy snow was the headline in at least four NFL games on Sunday. Blowing snow made it nearly impossible for fans to tell exactly where the ball was. The football field looked more like an ice rink with players slipping and sliding.

At the Eagles/Lions game in Philadelphia, snow measured as high as six inches in the middle of the field.

The Lions fumbled six times before half-time.


PETERSONS: We're still dealing with that second system here in the Northeast today and behind it on the tail end of the system comes another wave that could bring more rain and snow in through tomorrow. We're going to give you the full forecast coming up in just a few minutes -- Michaela, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Indra, thanks so much for that.

Let's turn now from the East Coast to the deep freeze, keeping Dallas at a standstill. Much of North Texas has been reeling since Thursday's ice storm. Travelers at the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport have been stranded, some of them for days.

Our storm coverage continues with Ed Lavandera, live from DWF -- Ed.


Well, for most of the weekend, five out of the seven runways here at DRW airport had been iced over. Things are starting to look better but it has been a long weekend for thousands of people trapped here at the airport.


JAMES ARCHIBALD, PASSENGER: This is day four, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Times are getting desperate.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Growing frustrations for thousands of passengers after being stranded at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport since Friday. James Archibald of Canada is one of them.

ARCHIBALD: I just don't understand why they can't get the ice off the runway. You know, from Canada, we've gotten 4 or 5 feet on the runway, boom, plows go by. I know it's for our own safety, it's a bit silly.

LAVANDERA: Mr. Archibald is posting video updates on YouTube, chronicling his misadventure in North Texas. As he waits out the weather, he is amusing himself by interviewing other travelers stuck at the gates.

UNIDENTIFIELD MALE: I'm going home. I don't like this place.

ARCHIBALD: You mean this isn't your home?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is right now.

LAVANDERA: On Friday, nearly 700 flights or about 90 percent of the total were canceled, about 400 more on Sunday.

These newlyweds were on their honeymoon and trying to get to Cancun, Mexico, when the ice storm grounded them. The couple from Tokyo a long way from that beach front honeymoon slept in chairs like so many others. Some were lucky enough to get cots.

The cancellations continued through the weekend while airport workers provided some food and drinks to travelers, they also brought in jugglers, illustrators and balloon artists. But that was little relief for some.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you showered in four days?


LAVANDERA: The temperature was above freezing at the airport for about five hours on Sunday. That helped crews clear ice from the runways.


LAVANDERA: And DFW airport officials say about 350 flights have been canceled for today, Monday. That's an improvement from Friday, when 750 flights were canceled, but the other good news is, Kate, they have four runways now fully functional here at the airport at DFW, which means the airport says they can run a full schedule off of that.

The problem is a lot of the flights are headed to the East Coast where there are other delays. So, be sure to check in with your airline as you travel today. BOLDUAN: Four days in the airport, those poor folks. Hopefully they'll get out today. Thank you so much.

We're going to keep an eye on the winter storm across the country.

But let's get now straight back to Chris in South Africa -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Kate. Once again, the situation here is speaking for itself, chanting and song and dance breaks out, waves of emotion and new people come here in front of the home of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, to celebrate the leader, who is, of course, now gone. It is a combination of loss, reverence, and responsibility and people have been talking, what would be the right memorial for Nelson Mandela. He's supposedly didn't want statues.

He says, the memorial, supposedly according to Mandela, that he wanted was the people. And, certainly, the rainbow nation is in effect here. You see, all different colors and creeds and celebration together and for Nelson Mandela, that's what it would be all about.


CUOMO (voice-over): Tuesday will see the largest gathering of world leaders in Africa's history. The massive soccer stadium here was big enough for the World Cup. But the 90,000 seats will hold just a fraction of the mourners coming to celebrate the man who represented the promise of South Africa.

Leaders from at least a dozen countries will be here. United States President Obama as well as two former presidents, Presidents Clinton and Bush, as well as their wives will be in attendance with many other American dignitaries. They will be joined by the leaders of at least a dozen other countries and more are continuing to join.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madiba, this guy was the greatest.

CUOMO: On Sunday, thousands packed places of worship in Pretoria and Soweto. Many still baring marks of the anti-apartheid fight, different creeds and colors honoring the same man as father.

JULE SICOSANA, PAYING TRIBUTE TO MANDELA: This is a special mass for Mr. Madiba. He said peace and so we must hold that peace so that where he is, he'll be very pleased.

CUOMO: Tears and cheers capturing the loss and love for Tata, or father, as South Africans called Mandela. The makeshift memorials here outside Mandela's Johannesburg home continue to grow, but the greatest memorial may be the faces, black and white together, parents bring children who will live a life Madiba help made possible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were born free in South Africa. They experience all the fruit of what he worked hard for.

CUOMO: With pride and a legacy, there is also loss. One man has Mandela's image on his car and says he hasn't been able to sleep or eat since he heard the news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can I live without Madiba? I'm so sad.

CUOMO: The long goodbye will continue all week, adding to the legend and legacy of Nelson Mandela.


CUOMO: The celebration here is a reflection of the complexity of what happens in South Africa. You have members of different tribes, there are 11 different state languages recognized here. You are seeing waves of different parts of the community coming and it's spread into a spirit of inclusion as word of the loss of Nelson Mandela has gotten out.

You have across the globe more and more leaders wanting to come. It's now equal to or surpassing what happened when John Paul II, the pope, died and they had that memorial. Our own in the United States, President Obama is bringing with him two former presidents, Clinton and Bush. We also hear former President Jimmy Carter is going to come.

And yet for all this inclusion, there's also a little bit of a pushback, an undercurrent we want to talk about to you this morning. Newt Gingrich is going to come on. He wrote something that was thoughtful in praise of Nelson Mandela and got a lot of heat from the conservative right. Why? We'll discuss it with him.

Back to you in New York -- Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Even great people are criticized by others. Chris, looking forward to that conversation very much coming up on "NEW DAY".

Right now, we want to give you a look at the headlines at this hour.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is in Pakistan to discuss drone strikes and security threats. Over the weekend, Hagel was in Afghanistan where he focused on a security agreement that would keep some U.S. and coalition troops in the country after next year. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he won't sign it until after that nation's elections in April.

Protesters in the Ukraine angry that their president is forging closer ties to Russia and not with European Union, toppled a statue of Lenin Sunday. And then they took turns pounding it with hammers. This was the biggest march in Kiev since the president turned down the trade deal with the E.U. Protesters say they're giving him 48 hours to disband his government.

This morning, eight major tech companies are urging the Obama administration to set limits on government surveillance. In a letter signed by Apple, Google, Microsoft and others, the companies say the government needs to better balance security deeds and privacy concerns. They want the U.S. to adopt reforms including clear limits on spying. Calls this morning for cameras on trains nationwide to be pointed at engineers and at the tracks, this a week after the Metro North train derailment that killed four people in New York. Crews installed new protections at the curve where the train left the tracks. The new system will warn engineers of approaching speed reductions and will automatically apply the emergency brake if the speed is not lowered.

Carrie Underwood sounding off on critics. The country star took to Twitter, calling out people who slammed her live television performance of "The Sound of Music." The actress received some backlash online for her port portrayal of Maria von Trapp of what they cited her acting experience.

She tweeted, quote, "Plain and simple: mean people need Jesus. They will be in my prayers tonight" and a Scripture, too.

BOLDUAN: Great reaction. Have you ever tried to sing "The Sound of Music", Michaela?

PEREIRA: I try to do it all the time and alone, (INAUDIBLE) in my apartment.

BOLDUAN: I only sing in the shower when no one's around.

PEREIRA: Don't we sound so much better?

BOLDUAN: That's why. I think I'm Whitney Houston when I'm in the shower.

PEREIRA: Let's turn to weather now, because this is something where none of us is feeling great about. If you're trying to travel, I'm betting a lot of folks are upset they were stuck in airports when the big football Sunday was happening, missing out on the action.

PETERSONS: Hopefully they had TVs. That's the thing. I know they gave out free tickets in Dallas and only 1,000 people showed up at the game, it was so cold, no one wanted to be there. That's how you know it's freezing there.

The second system is still here into the Northeast, right now, and take a look we have the wintry mix out there, more moving in towards New England. We had a bigger threat out towards Virginia. That is switching over to rain as a little bit of that warmer air moves through.

But regardless, this was the threat today, about a quarter inch toward Roanoke. We have to see what the information is that gets put out there. About 0.1 inch in New England. So, keep in mind, once you get some snow out of this, we have some snow into the Northeast, you still have the concern there, you could have ice on the roads, you could have snow covering that and you may not see it. You definitely want to take that additional time.

Here comes the second system, the tail end of the first system, another low spins off of that and moves up the cold front. And even as we go through tomorrow in the Northeast, maybe in the overnight hours throughout the day and towards late afternoon, we'll still be talking about snow and even more than we saw yesterday, about a good one to three inches of snow will be out there, farther down to the south we're still diagnose going to be talking about rain.

Does this mean delays? It does. Because we could see low visibility. Nothing as bad as what we have been seeing. But like you mentioned, we still have that backup out there so you add visibility on top of it, concerns never ending.

BOLDUAN: People need you today and know what to do to avoid the mess. But it seems the answer is not much.

PETERSONS: I was going to say nice to be loved, and I was like I don't think that love --

BOLDUAN: We need you.


BOLDUAN: Thank you, Indra.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on "NEW DAY", not everyone is praising Nelson Mandela in the wake of his death. Coming up, CNN "CROSSFIRE's" Newt Gingrich is going to be responding to critics for his admiration for Mandela.

PEREIRA: And imagine this -- talk about a rude awakening, you get on a flight, have a nap, you get up and you're alone inside a dark plane. The man that happened to, we'll talk to him exclusively coming up on NEW DAY.


CUOMO: Welcome back to "NEW DAY". You're looking at footage of President Obama and first lady, Michelle Obama, just having gotten on board Air Force one. They're going to take off and fly here to South Africa, Johannesburg, for what is promising to be an epic memorial to Nelson Mandela tomorrow. It's going to be filled the soccer stadium here that was big enough for the World Cup.

But the 90,000 seats are said to not be enough just for the people who already here, let alone those who are still coming in for. So, we're here in front of Nelson Mandela's house. And really, the word is complexity.

When you talk about South Africa, everything is complex, the nature of the burgeoning mixing of White and Black and all the different regional languages that have to be here and the celebration is complicated, because there's a sense of loss but there's also this joy of what Mandela meant.

You hear the music. You see the procession, different tribes, different religions all coming here, and of course, Black and White together. The U.S. has President Obama and also three former presidents coming as this echo around the world of the word of Mandela's passing is generating this energy of inclusion, yet again, complexity and that brings us to Newt Gingrich.

He's joining us this morning and we're happy to have him. Newt wrote a very thoughtful piece about the passing of Nelson Mandela. Newt had been one of the people early on pushing to end apartheid and to help Mandela's cause. He got pushback. He got criticism for that piece. Now amid all of this that's going on.

So, Newt, I hope you can hear me. I'm in the middle of a celebration, but please, tell us the context. What did you make of the pushback and criticism you got for what seemed like a very thoughtful piece about Nelson Mandela?

NEWT GINGRICH, CNN CROSSFIRE HOST: Well, I think, having analyzed it over the weekend, there were two waves of rejection of the idea of honoring Mandela. One wave was people who confused Mandela's role with the African National Congress during the period when he was in jail. He spent 27 years in jail which was the peak of the African National Congress' violence, much of which was violence against other Blacks, not just violence against -- mostly not violence against the government.

The other was I think that some elements of the left, particularly, on one news channel went overboard in trying to use this as an excuse to attack Ronald Reagan. And I think people who were Reagan loyalists who know that Reagan had condemned apartheid, Reagan had called for Mandela to be released. Reagan actually appointed the first Black ambassador to South Africa whose job was to pressure the Afrikaans government. And that Reagan -- this was another excuse from the left to try to smear Reagan.

So, there's a lot of anger on the right about this opportunity being used inappropriately. Mandela, himself, -- he's a very complex person with a very long life, and I think he's the most important figure in Sub-Saharan Africa in the last 100 years.

He offers a hope for reconciliation and a hope for moving forward with free enterprise and private property, and an opportunity to create jobs and to live together that is greater than any other African leader of the last 100 years, and I think that part of his memory has to be preserved and built upon.

CUOMO: So newt, if you can, inform the speculation on both of these fronts and tell people what you think the proper perception be. First, with the idea that Nelson Mandela was someone who was advocating forceful overthrow early on.

That is a big part of what got him in prison, and then, on the other side, the idea that when he was in prison, that the United States wasn't actively supporting his release to some satisfaction, and that during the Iraq war, he was an outspoken critic of using force.

We hear that he was just about to get on a plane to discuss with Saddam Hussein before the bombing started. What do you see as the right way to view these two different perspectives? GINGRICH: Well, I mean, first of all, if you look at his entire life, for the overwhelming early part of his life, he was opposed to violence, all of his life he was opposed to racism. He consistently favored bringing South Africans of all backgrounds together and deeply opposed the more racial wing of the independence movement.

The other thing you have to remember about him is he was deeply committed to a non-violent approach until you had a South African dictatorship under the Afrikaans parties which made it impossible to have anything that was purely nonviolent. And I think if you look at the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 where there were 69 people killed by the police, you see the context in which he was moving, I think, with sadness but determination towards a sabotage campaign.

But even then, while he was out of jail, his focus was on sabotage acts that minimized loss of life. He was a man who really didn't want to go down that road but who, I think, found himself in a position where he had no choice. The American government's position, frankly, was consistently anti-apartheid but also in a context so it's easy for us to forget.

You had Zimbabwe collapsing under a terrible dictatorship. You had Mozambique and Angola in the middle of a communist effort to take them over. We were in the middle of the cold war, and frankly, the priorities of the United States government were to defeat the Soviet Union and they were very cautious about doing things that distracted them from that.

But by 1985, a number of us, Vin Weber, Bob Walker, myself among them, had led an effort that really convinced Reagan to become more proactive. And if you look at what he said and did during that period, just think about the idea of appointing a Black ambassador to a country that is racially legally totally segregated and the signal that sent to every young Black in South Africa that the United States was doing what it could to be on their side. I think it was a significant step.

CUOMO: Newt, what do you think about the recent understanding that it wasn't until 2008 that Nelson Mandela was on the list of known terrorists for the United States?

GINGRICH: Look, I have been a consistent critic of the state department as an incompetent bureaucracy and the notion that they hadn't noticed sometime between 1990 and 2008 that Nelson Mandela had been released from prison was considered an international hero, had become president of his country.

And frankly, when I was speaker, he visited the United States to receive the Congressional gold medal, which President Clinton and I were part of giving him. The notion that they hadn't noticed this tells you a lot about your state department and why it needs a very deep overhaul.

CUOMO: I'll tell you one thing, Newt, that's pretty clear being here. As you learn the history of what Nelson Mandela was able to achieve when he got out of prison, in just a few short years that he got the people here to accept, that he got the Africans here to accept the apartheid members of government and the new government, that that spirit of reconciliation was possible here. It certainly informs of what we should be capable of back in the U.S., don't you think?

GINGRICH: It does. When Calista and I visited Capetown a couple -- three years ago, we were really struck with the spirit. We were very privileged to go to mass in a HOSA (ph) Catholic Church. They had about 800 people there with a priest from Notre Dame who'd been serving that church the last 20 years. And, you saw a sense of being able to be together, of being South African, that everybody there was South African, whether they came from one of the African -- the Black tribes -- they're all Africans.

I mean, the Dutch who were there very, very early, some over 400 years ago. So, all of them are African, whether they're of Asian descent, European descent or Blacks in the north and the fact is that Mandela's spirit -- think about this, after 27 years in jail, 19 of them in a cell that was 8'x 7', here's a guy who invites his guard to come and sit in the front row of his inauguration and says to the entire country, "if I can forgive the guard who kept me in jail for 27 years, you can forgive people. We have to move forward and work together."

And I think the South African economy and the opportunity South Africa has to be the leading country in Africa grows out of the spirit of reconciliation. I think there's a lot of Americans could learn about moving ahead together, getting over the fights of the past, and finding a way to reconcile with each other, and frankly, without being partisan, I hope that the president brings some of that spirit back with him.

Maybe he and the Congress can sit down more in the spirit of Mandela and actually listen to each other for a while and that would be healthier for the entire country.

CUOMO: To be sure, no one party has the market cornered when it comes to not doing what it needs to do to work with the other side. Newt, thank you very much for your perspective on this. Appreciate it. And tomorrow, it really does promise to be just a really epic memorial here. It's going to be a real privilege to bear witness. Kate, back to you in the city.

BOLDUAN: All right, Chris. We're going to get back to South Africa in just a minute.

But first we're going to take a break. Coming up next on "NEW DAY", we've told you about Michael Morton, a man who spent two decades behind bars for a crime he did not commit, but he is not the only one. It also happened to Derek Deacon (ph). So, why is he having such a hard time celebrating his newfound freedom?

PEREIRA: And locked inside a plane. You'll meet a passenger who dozed off during a flight, woke up alone, and locked in the plane. He joins us live with his ordeal ahead.


PEREIRA: And welcome back to "NEW DAY". Time for the five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Starting at number one, the east coast getting pelted right now with snow, rain and ice. The worst may be yet to come. The deep freeze causing all sorts of headaches at the airport and on the roads.

Preparations under way for a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. It will bring dozens of world leaders, including President Obama to South Africa.

In Montana, jury selections starting today in the case of a new bride charged with murdering her husband just eight days after their wedding. The 22-year-old has pleaded not guilty.

It is sentencing day for former San Diego mayor, Bob Filner. Filner resigned in August accused of sexual misconduct by nearly 20 women. He's expected to take a deal involving no jail time and a ban on seeking public office.

And at number five, Princeton students will line up today for the first doses of meningitis B vaccine. That vaccine is not yet approved in the U.S., but the FDA cleared it for use following an outbreak of the rare strain on campus.


PEREIRA (on-camera): We always update those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest.

Now, for what you need to know about the weather, Indra is taking a look at that. And I know there's -- it's really causing havoc if you're traveling.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, unbelievable. I mean, I know the Bronx to have (ph) a parkway yesterday a 20-car pile-up. And that's what happens when you start to see the dangerous sleet, snow and ice really moving into the area. And it's not the only thing out there. Look at the freezing fog advisory in through Dallas, but it wasn't bad enough.

They had two storms make their way through. Now, there's still things, flights delayed and not canceled. Already 700 flights canceled out of Dallas-Ft. Worth already this morning, just thanks to that. Here in the northeast, we're still dealing with the second system here that's starting to make its way out.

Definitely saw some icing around Virginia but now still looking at that wintry mix kind of through the New England area. Farther south, we're starting to see that sleet starting to switch over to. Of course, some rain, we'll get some warmer air into the region.

So next story is, yes, there's that second low and the tail end of the cold front still making its way up. So, overnight tonight in through tomorrow especially in through tomorrow afternoon, we're going to start seeing more snow, more than we saw from the first system especially into the northeast, about one to three inches of snow still possible out there and also some rain on the tail end.