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Half the U.S. to Get Temps Below Zero; Slain Landlord Skewered by Tabloid; Will Hillary Clinton Run in 2016?; Tiger Mom Rankles with New Book

Aired January 6, 2014 - 11:30   ET


BANFIELD: Welcome back to LEGAL VIEW, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

As many as 140 million of your fellow Americans are stuck in this, the middle of dangerous cold. It is a snap going right across the country right now. Places across the Midwest won't even see anything above zero degrees.

The picture just looks cold, doesn't it? Even when you can't even see cold, you can see it somehow in that picture.

It's really not much better in the south either. It's colder in Atlanta and Nashville today than it is in Anchorage, Alaska.

True. True that. We've got crews from the north to the south. Covering the north is George Howell in icy Green Bay, Wisconsin. The poor guy never seems to be able to get out of there. It feels like below 40 where George is. You can see his breath.

In the south, Victor Blackwell. That picture of that not smiling man is Atlanta, which normally would be a very smiley place to be. The picture does not look very happy to be there.

And Alexandra Steele has been watching all of this. The weather system coming in and going to the Weather Center.

OK, George Howell, I'm going to start with you because you have the worst of it. I have been watching you for the last 48 hours outside of Lambeau Field. The fans start to go home, they've got to warm up after the big game but you, my friend, are still stuck there.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, but we did make sure to limit our exposure out here, Ashleigh. Of course, as you know, coming from Canada, you know that when you're out in this weather, you can't be out very long. We made sure to go inside also to stay bundled up to where, you know, the hat, the scarf, the gloves, all of that.

Yesterday the fans that were here, some 77,500 fans, they all braved the temperatures, they watched this game in five-degree weather. It felt like negative 11 with the wind chill. They dealt with frozen bottles of beer and frozen water.

I mean, look at this. It's like bricks here. And you leave it out just for a few minutes and this happens very quickly. So it is incredibly cold out here. The officials are telling people today just to stay indoors. We are under a wind chill warning at least until noon. So it is definitely not pleasant out here.

BANFIELD: I know. I once sat through a great cup game at minus 40 in Edmonton, Alberta. And I sat there for the whole game, three hours.


BANFIELD: So I feel your pain. I have been there, done that, and then moved to New York for warmer temperatures.

OK, I want to go to Victor Blackwell right now because that he's pretty uncomfortable.

Even though it's Atlanta, I never expected to be coming to you, Victor, for a live shot on cold weather. And I didn't even think you'd get issued that CNN cold weather jacket but you did.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Ashleigh, I never expected to be standing here talking to you about cold weather in Atlanta. And, you know, something stands out about what George has said. That at the game yesterday it was five degrees and then it felt like negative 11. Tomorrow, for Atlanta, the temperatures are forecast to dip to seven degrees with a wind chill of negative 10 degrees here.

So we will rival Wisconsin in weather tomorrow. But there is some good news. Let's take a look at the roads. The roads here, you're looking at Interstate 75, 85 here, are clear. And there was a concern with all of yesterday's rain in Atlanta that there would be black ice covering the interstate. The good news is that this wind dried the roads before temperatures dipped below freezing.

Right now, we are in the mid 20s. Anchorage, Alaska, the mid-30s. And I don't know if you can see against the black my scarf and the microphone, snow flurries here in Atlanta. And there have been on and off sporadic flurries for more than a few hours now, so although it's cold now, it's going to get even colder overnight. And we're forecast to stay below freezing through Wednesday.

WHITFIELD: That's weird. I woke up in New York, and the New York area was 50, 50 degrees this morning. Everything had melted. But while you shake your head and feel jealous, we're going to just plummet. So all that -- just like you said, all that melted snow and that water on the street is set to fix and freeze but fast a little later on -- this afternoon.

So, Victor, go warm up.

And, Alexandra, maybe you could give me a bit of a feel for -- I mean, that is a really dangerous circumstance when you have a huge melt from the big snow storm and then a very precipitous freeze.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Well, in Atlanta, Georgia, a lot of the schools were delayed for fear of that flash freeze and that black ice from the rain and then the dropping temperatures so abruptly. All right. Here's a look. These temperatures never get old. 51 is what it feels like in Duluth. Again with temperatures below zero, at 50 below, you can get frostbite in five minutes. 35 below, it only takes 10 minutes. So our reporters have been out longer than that.

So watch this drop. Temperatures today, 32 degrees, colder than average. A high in Duluth of only 13 below. A high in Indianapolis of only 10 below. And as we head farther south, Atlanta, Georgia, today almost 30 degrees colder than where we should be. A high of only 25.

But Ashleigh was talking about the cold. Here it comes. What's going to happen is that front, this cold front, moving through the northeast, and then finally the eastern seaboard by tonight, drops into the 20s and 30s. So they begin to get into it and again, current temperatures, single digits, Atlanta Georgia. First time, single digits for a low since 2003.

If we get two degrees colder than this to five, it will be the first time in Atlanta since 1985.

BANFIELD: Wow. Unbelievable. Just so shocking to see people in Atlanta having to worry about the black ice situation and the ultimate freeze that they're dealing with.


BANFIELD: OK. Stay warm, my friend. You've been doing some really great work.

Poor girl never gets a day off. Not like this anyway.

George Howell, Victor Blackwell, Alexandra Steele, all doing the job for us. And they'll continue to do the job throughout the day. CNN has this story blanketed for you. We will not let you down on this one. We'll continue to let you know just how good and bad it's going to be and when things will ease up on you.

Other news we're following as well. A man was shot to death in his car on a Pennsylvania highway in what police are calling an act of road rage. Police say a 28-year-old man named Timothy Davison called 911 and said someone was following him.

Investigators say it appears that car that ran him off the road and that the other driver got out and shot Davidson. Officials are still looking for a suspect in that case.

New York is about to become the 21st state to allow the use of medical marijuana. Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to take executive action this week to allow select hospitals to distribute medical marijuana to patients with serious illnesses.

The father of seven and real estate developer is kidnapped and burned and killed. As police investigate, his community is in an uproar over what one newspaper headline said about the victim.


BANFIELD: Somebody wanted Menachem Stark dead. And now he is. The New York landlord and father of seven children was last seen alive while being thrown into a van outside of his Brooklyn office last Thursday night. His burned and battered corpse was later found on Friday in a Long Island dumpster.

And as if that weren't bad enough, Stark's family says he is now the victim of character assassinations at the hands of the newspaper, the "New York Post."

Take a look at your screen. That's Menachem Stark on the cover of the Sunday edition next to a headline reading, "Who Didn't Want Him Dead?" The "Post" calls Stark, and I'm quoting, "an infamous slumlord and loan shark with an enemy's list a mile long."

CNN's Susan Candiotti is working this story for us.

So there's a lot of different angles on this.


BANFIELD: The least of which at this point I want to ask you about is that headline. More about the -- what appears to be a murder and the investigation. Where are they on this?

CANDIOTTI: Right. Well, they're looking into business associations that he had, of course. Any family members who could help them with any information about this. So there's a lot of work to be done. But there really is stunning security video if we could show you that for just a moment.

You referenced him being hustled into this van, there's a struggle that goes on for a good two minutes. I don't know if we have that. But if you look very slowly, you can see there are several people and they accost him and they try to throw him into this van. It was -- remember, it was cold and snowy that Thursday night.

And this tape goes on for at least two minutes before the van.

BANFIELD: The struggle? Goes on --


CANDIOTTI: At least that the tape cuts off after two minutes. But I think that's as much as they released to us. So now they have also video of this van that they're looking for, asking the public's help. They show it driving away as well. And then the body is found in the next county over, battered, as you said, charred.

BANFIELD: Look at that video, Susan. It's snowing. You can barely see anything.


BANFIELD: And either -- do they have any other video that maybe they're not releasing at this time.

CANDIOTTI: We don't know. This is all that they're putting out right now. And looking for any information they can to try to figure out who would have done this to him. And that's the question. And that's --

BANFIELD: What a horrible story.


BANFIELD: And speaking of the story, I mean, that's really disquieting for people to see that headline. And there's been a real outcry, not just from his community but other people as well. What's the "Post" saying about it?

CANDIOTTI: That's right. Well, the "Post" alleging that he is a slumlord, that there are a lot of building code violations. We are looking into all of this and have seen that there are some code violations in many of the buildings that he owned. However, they go on to allege that he is a slumlord and his friends and family are saying, really? It's almost as though you're justifying what happened here.

You see that headline. Their statement, the "Post" says, "The Post is not saying Mr. Stark deserve to die but out reporting showed he had many enemies which may have led to the commission of this terrible crime."

Well, the family is saying, look, the release -- excuse me, we deserve an apology for a headline like that.

BANFIELD: But nothing so far forthcoming from the "Post" other than that statement?

CANDIOTTI: Not as far as we know. There is a -- the family is holding a news conference. So in the next half hour or so, to also talk about increasing the reward. They may have more to say about this.

BANFIELD: Seven children? Father of seven children. It's just so distressing no matter what. This is just a picture with one of them.


BANFIELD: But, you know, kids ultimately can see those headlines.

CANDIOTTI: Sure, they do.

BANFIELD: They can Google and certainly when they grow old enough, they can -- they can see that as well.

Let us know what happens in the news conference.


BANFIELD: Susan Candiotti, thank you for that. So the big question for a lot of people. Will she or won't she? Much discussion and several behind closed door meetings surrounding a Clinton campaign. So why are some advisers telling Hillary not to run for president? You might be surprised.

Our Wolf Blitzer is going to weigh in on that next.


BANFIELD: With the holidays over, President Obama is back at the White House. And lawmakers, they're back on Capitol Hill and on the horizon, those crucial midterm elections.

Get ready, they're coming.

But, first though, we've got a little leftover business from 2013. The Senate is voting today to extend by three months federal benefits for more than one million long-term unemployed Americans. The Democrats are scrambling to get the 60 votes that are needed to clear the Republicans procedural hurdle, and this move comes just days after those benefits expired.

The Senate is also busy today expected to confirm Janet Yellen as the first woman to head the Federal Reserve. Miss Yellen has been vice chair of the Fed since 2010 and she would succeed Ben Bernanke who is stepping down at the end of the month.

Turning now to one of the most intriguing and talked about questions in D.C. and indeed around the country. Will this woman run for president in 2016? There are legions of supporters shouting run, Hillary, run. But according to a new report by Politico, there are quite a few loyal friends and former colleagues urging her to stay out of the race, or at least wanting her to stay out of the race.

Politico reports that over the summer, Mrs. Clinton sat down with a group of aides for a detailed discussion on the pros and the cons of running.

But there's no better person to talk about this than our Wolf Blitzer, who knows everything inside and outside of Washington.

So start with the basics. What about that meeting? How technical was it, how important, should we read any tea leaves with that meeting?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: I don't think it should be a surprise to anyone that she is at least thinking about running for the Democratic presidential nomination once again. It's early right now, relatively early, although you speak to some of the political strategists out there, it's never too early, if you really want to be president of the United States.

There's a lot of work to do. And certainly, there wouldn't be any formal announcement on her part until after the midterm elections in November. But it's not too early to start thinking about it. And in this article in Politico, Maggi Hammerman wrote about that meeting that did occur. She didn't do a whole lot of talking, she just listened about dates, filing dates, how much money you need, outside groups that would support her, technical stuff like that.

So the fact that she is seriously thinking about it, that's well- known, including statements that she herself has made and her husband Bill Clinton has made in recent weeks and months. But no final decision has been made. If you hear what they're saying, she is still weighing the pros and cons.

BANFIELD: So I think a lot of people who are not fans of Hillary Clinton will jump all over the notion that there are these advisers in her camp that don't want her to run. But it's for something very different.

And I was very struck by, Wolf, the -- this comment. The DNA-altering experience of a modern presidential campaign in which nothing is guaranteed. The advisers apparently just don't want the pulverizing that a campaign could do to what they consider a very good legacy.

I'd love you to speak to the fact that how different is the campaigning these days than it was, say, five, 10 years ago? Is it really that much more pulverizing?

BLITZER: It's pretty brutal. If you're running for the Democratic or Republican presidential nomination, there's going to be a lot of activity, a lot of scrutiny, a lot of criticism. People are going to go over everything in your past. You're open to all of those kinds of attacks, if you will. So it's a tough, tough situation. She it's a tough, tough situation. She did it once in 2008. She got very, very close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination.

In the end she didn't win. And I think in part because she wasn't as aggressive in those caucus states as she was in the actual primary states. And that probably cost her the Democratic presidential nomination than Senator Barack Obama. So she's learned a lot of lessons from that. She's got a lot of smart people around her.

My own sense, Ashleigh, is that she'll run if she's healthy enough because she would like to go down in history as the first woman president of the United States. Remember, a year or so ago, she did suffer a blood clot in her head and her brain after fainting. Assuming she is healthy, she is 66 years old right now, I think she'll run. I think she'll have a lot of support within the Democratic Party.

She'll have a lot of smart people, a lot of money will be raised on her behalf. She'll be a formidable candidate and we'll see where other Democrats might want to challenge her, if they line up to do so. But my own sense is, based on everything I've heard, she is seriously thinking about this. She won't make a final decision until after the midterm elections in November.

BANFIELD: It will make for some incredible headlines, either way. That's for sure. And I do recall that she was wearing those very thick glasses after that blood clot as part of her therapy to try to recover from that. Her aides say that she is in perfect health right now. So for what that's worth.

Wolf Blitzer, great to see you, as always. Thank you.

And be sure to watch Wolf right here, CNN, 1:00 Eastern, and then again for "THE SITUATION ROOM" later on in the afternoon, the always inside the beltway, Wolf Blitzer.

The outspoken woman known as the tiger mom speaking out again. And this time she's saying that certain cultures are superior to other cultures.

Do these comments amount to racism? Hear what she has to say about that, and which cultures does she think are superior? Are you among them?


BANFIELD: Well, she's at it again. That Yale Law professor, who in 2011 called herself the tiger mom and told the rest of us to toughen up, berate your kids, it works. She's now got a new book that is sure to push a lot more buttons.

This one is called "The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America."

Sure enough, Amy Chua and her husband-slash-coauthor list eight groups that they deem overachievers. Those groups are Jews, Indians, Chinese, Iranians, Lebanese-Americans, Nigerians, Cuban exiles and Mormons.

Chua is Chinese. Her husband is Jewish. And they both make the list.

CNN's digital correspondent Kelly Wallace joins me now to kick this one around.



BANFIELD: Neither am I. It doesn't say Canadian-Americans anywhere.


BANFIELD: So at first blush, this sounds at the very least biased and prejudiced and some say racist. But what are they saying?

WALLACE: Well, you know, and a ton of reaction online using the R word, racist. I mean, she is, and I think she and her husband are very careful to call it cultural groups, right? Talking about maybe some traditions, some sort of disciplines of different cultural groups that might lead to more success. If they were saying it's based on race or ethnicity, then you're genetically, you know, born with this, that they would probably feel is more racist than what they're putting forward right now.

BANFIELD: So ultimately they're saying that these groups that they outlined, that you and I don't belong to.

WALLACE: Apparently.

BANFIELD: There is something called the triple package that makes them superior. What are the three things?

WALLACE: You know, and there are three things. Number one, she says that these cultural groups have a superiority complex. Right? That they think that they are better than other groups. At the same time, she said they also have insecurities, right? That they think have feelings of inadequacy. And that pushes them to do better. And finally she says --

BANFIELD: That seems to cancel each other out.

WALLACE: It does. I know.

BANFIELD: Call me crazy.

WALLACE: Exactly. And then the final one is impulse control. And they say that so many Americans are living in the moment, and they say that many of these cultural groups have sort of more patience, more perseverance, more, you know, not giving up as easily as others are.

Again, you know, where's the background for this, is the big question.

BANFIELD: That's the question I wanted to ask you. I read Malcolm Gladwell everything, and he backs up everything with very well- researched data. And I'm wondering if Amy Chua and her husband are doing the same thing.

WALLACE: Yes, and what's hard right now is, you know, the book is not really officially out until February. So we just have limited, you know, what the publisher is putting out and limited sort of reference to study. So we don't really have the full documentation of what's behind this.

And I think, Ashleigh, what's interesting, the first book generated enormous outreach. But it also led to interesting conversations. I'm sure you had them, too. Are we tough enough on our kids? Should my daughter play the violin or the piano? If I let her play the flute, am I not a good mom?

But I'm not so sure this book is going to lead to those same conversations because the middle class isn't (INAUDIBLE) the middle class and where we are in the country, isn't it more about, you know, access to education and access to income, and aren't we about more in terms of our identities, more than exactly the cultural group we're with?

I think that's kind of the debate going on right now.

BANFIELD: I'll tell you what. Any time there's conversation sparked, that's a great thing. Anybody who lives and dies by the word, though, it always makes me concerned that they don't question --


BANFIELD: -- at least a little bit before they implement things.


BANFIELD: Kelly Wallace, always good to see you.

WALLACE: Always good to see you.

BANFIELD: Thank you.

WALLACE: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Warmly dressed today.

Thanks for watching, everybody. I'm flat out of time. Great to have you with us. Keep warm. Set a timer for your pets if you let them outside, please. Such an easy thing to do.

AROUND THE WORLD starts now.