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Rodman One-on-One; Weather Causing Travel Headaches

Aired January 7, 2014 - 06:30   ET


DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: : These guys have said certain things about their families, what they're saying about them, why they here, this is not about me. It's one thing, if could open the door a little bit -- just a little bit, just a little bit. It ain't about, you know, trying to crash -- trying to, you know, change a will. It's about one thing.

You know what, no one ever, ever asked anyone in the world why we have Olympics and we have struggles around the world with all the countries around the world. But when the Olympics come around, there's no problems. It's all about the game. People love to do one thing, sports.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But, of course, it's not just about the game, it is? The interview goes on.

And we are going to show you more of this interview with Dennis Rodman and the rest of the gentleman there. His frustration as what he sees is negative attention that this trip is getting in an unwarranted way. And he is not angry yet. So, we'll give you more of this straight ahead.

It is not just about the theater of it. It's a very important situation in that country, especially to the Bae family and many others who have suffered human rights atrocities of the man that Dennis Rodman calls his friend.

We'll be back.


CUOMO: More now of our exclusive interview with Dennis Rodman. He's in North Korea celebrating that nation's ruler, a birthday present, obviously, an enemy of America.

And the present is a basketball game. He brought some of the NBA good, well-known names there with him. One of them, Charles Smith, wound up having to defend Rodman and why the team is actually there.

It's a NEW DAY exclusive. Here's more of it right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHARLES SMITH, FORMER NBA PLAYER: We received a letter from the DPRK Olympic Committee on invitation to do this game. This isn't about Dennis -- I'm sorry. Dennis -- like I said, I got to know -- I didn't like Dennis. I competed against him. We were not friends.


And over the last three years, we become brothers. I mean, we go out on the road and we have a great time together. We do a lot of good stuff.

But understand this -- understand that he is not here and I am not here -- none of these guys are here to talk any sense into any politician and to have any -- other than basketball diplomacy which I feel is about having a relation -- utilizing the relationship with others in an accommodating way through basketball which we did today with the North Korean team. That's what we're here for.

Do you really think that the leaders are going to listen to what we have to say? We're not here to do that. That's not what we're here to do.

We're here specifically to put smiles on people's faces, every lasting memories in the minds of individuals. And hopefully, with the good work that we do, we give to charity while we're here. And we're just going to be an example to how we are as Americans when it comes to the sport of basketball. So please, don't continue to put politics into that. This is not what we're here for.

CUOMO: I get it, Charles. I get it. I get why you're there.

The problem is it's more complicated than basketball. It just is. It's more complicated than basketball, fellas, I'm sorry.

SMITH: You say -- you know, and you say it's more complicated than basketball. Basketball is not complicated to us and that's what we do. We're not in here for complications.

And again, we apologize for what has kind of the storm that has been created from our presence. We're not apologizing for doing what we do. Those people today, the North Korean team, meeting the citizens, we're connecting people to basketball and people to people.

CUOMO: I get it. That's all good, Charles.

SMITH: All relational.

CUOMO: That's all good.

SMITH: You say you get it, but that's all we're doing. So, don't --


CUOMO: But the game has been presented -- the game has been presented as a birthday present to the ruler -- the game has been presented as a birthday present to the ruler. I'm not here to fight with you guys. I respect what you're doing. I'm concerned for the family of this man who is held there. And I'm concerned, as many Americans are, about giving a birthday present to a man who is seen as a despot, who just had his uncle executed.

Dennis, you understand the issue. It's not about hating on American basketball player.

SMITH: Yes. But you can -- you can continue to talk about the different at this times that is -- activities that take place here. We have -- there's activities that take place all over the world.

We are using basketball as a bridge for cultural exchange. And that's all about communication. We're not -- again, we're not here to deal with the politics. The date of the game is the date of the game. It was arranged that way.

CUOMO: Right.

SMITH: We're here to deal with people.

Now, let me give you a couple of examples. When we spoke to the North Korean players today through the translators, they asked us questions about professional basketball, they asked us questions about how we live, they asked us questions about the game.

We interacted with them. We represented our country in basketball in a way that we know that we should do and we are very professional about it. The fans afterwards said things like, we had no idea, you guys are retired, you guys are older, but your skill is superior and you taught us a lot. They thanked us for that. They thanked Dennis for putting this together. That's the joy that we get out of this, and that's what we're going to sit and that's what we're going to stay and that's what we're going to do.

CUOMO: And I wish you good luck and effectiveness. I wish you good luck and effectiveness in influencing the people there. I hope it's a good cultural exchange.

Dennis, let me end on this. You do have a relationship with this man. You've said it many times. We've seen it demonstrated --


CUOMO: -- for whatever reason.


CUOMO: Are you going to take an opportunity if you get it to speak up for the family of Kenneth Bae and say, let us know why this man is being held? That this is wrong, that he is sick. If you can help them, Dennis, will you take the opportunity?

RODMAN: Watch this. The one thing about politics, Kenneth Bae did one thing, if you understand -- I got it guys (ph), if you understand what Kenneth Bae did. CUOMO: Yes.

RODMAN: Do you understand what he did --

CUOMO: What did he do? You tell me.

RODMAN: -- in this country?

CUOMO: You tell me. What he do?

RODMAN: No, no, no, you tell me. Why is he held captive?

CUOMO: They haven't released any charges. They haven't released any reason.


SMITH: Listen.

RODMAN: Let me do this, I would love to speak on this.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

RODMAN: You know, you got 10 guys here -- 10 guys here that have left their families, left their families to help this country in a sports venture. Ten guys, all these guys here. Do anyone understand that?

CUOMO: We do. And we appreciate that. And we wish them well with cultural exchange.

RODMAN: No, no. I'm saying -- I don't give (EXPLETIVE DELETED) what the hell you think, I'm saying to you, look at these guys. Look at them!

CUOMO: Yes, Dennis, don't put it on them. Don't use them as an excuse for the behavior that you're putting on yourself. You just basically were saying that Kenneth Bae did something wrong. We don't even know what the charges are. Don't use these guys as a shield for you, Dennis.

SMITH: Listen. Listen. Listen.

RODMAN: Shield, I got it. Let me do this. Let me -- let me. I'm going to tell you one thing. People around the world -- around the world -- I'm going to do one thing. You don't die behind the mic right now. The guys here do one thing.

We have to go back to America and take the abuse -- do you (INAUDIBLE) the abuse we're going to take. Do you, sir, let me know -- we're going to get it. But guess what though? One day, one day this dude is going to open because these ten guys here, all of us, Christie, Vin, Dennis, Charles, everybody here, if we could just open the door just a little bit for people to come here and do one thing --

SMITH: And Dennis makes a great point. There are other Americans here on this trip. You have to understand that we're not alone. We're in passage with about 50 people. They're here on the tour. We've interacted with them as well. The key is you can bait Dennis or any others --


CUOMO: Charles -- Charles, that's not my intention.

SMITH: But that's not --

CUOMO: That's not my intention --

SMITH: Let me finish.

CUOMO: Please?

SMITH: If that's not your intention, we're said numerous times that we're not here for any political aspects. We're not here to talk politics. So outside of that, any questions that come back through that is baiting to get is into politics. That's not we're here for.

CUOMO: Charles --

SMITH: Every man sitting here understands that.

CUOMO: Charles, I understand it as well. I wish you good luck with the cultural exchange. But you know the issues that are at play.

Good luck with the game. I hope it has the results that you want to. And I wish you a safe trip home. Thank you for joining us this morning.


CUOMO: Listen, Charles Smith is right. I think it is unfortunate that those gentlemen are caught up in the circus of Dennis Rodman over there.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Looked like some of them didn't want to be there during that interview.

CUOMO: There's no question that cultural exchange can help in situations like this. There's no question that Charles Smith and the other men there are very well-intentioned.

But as we all know, it's a complicated situation. And for Dennis Rodman to make any kind of accusation about Kenneth Bae is obviously speaking out of school even for him. But again, it's an important situation, certainly, the family of Kenneth Bae and other families who have experienced atrocities over there, including the citizens.

So, it was an interview you had to and Dennis Rodman decided to do it his way.

BOLDUAN: And you wanted to see it and it seems clear that Dennis Rodman is trying to walk some fine line that doesn't seem to exist for most everyone watching from the outside. CUOMO: Yes. And it was nice that you wanted to come over and defend me from him during the interview. I appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: I did. Well, I'm the only one that can take you on. I'll protect you from others.

CUOMO: I felt OK because he's thousands of miles away.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. When he comes back, I'll be here.

CUOMO: And I was on the right side.

BOLDUAN: You were. That's always the right side to be on.

We're going to take a break here on NEW DAY. We're going to have much more of that coming up.

We're also going to be tracking the bone chilling cold weather gripping much of the country. When will this end, when will you see some relief? We're going to have a forecast, what you need to know to stay safe in this dangerous weather coming up.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's check in on the top story that we're -- one of the top stories that we're following this morning, that extreme cold almost everywhere in the country, this record-setting arctic blast from the polar vortex. It is tightening its grip on the eastern half of the country right now. We're seeing temperatures well below zero throughout the Midwest.

Meteorologist, Indra Petersons, has the bone-chilling details in the bone-chilling Battery Park in Manhattan. So how is it looking, Indra?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, we're still dealing with these very cold temperatures. I know we know that's the story, but really, it's how it feels when these winds have really picked up this morning. That is the difference. Hard to see, I know, especially it's dark outside, but these winds are gusting 40 miles per hour. And that will make so unbearable out here this morning.

I mean, your eyes just so feel so dry, your fingers freeze in seconds. Same thing with your toes. You need layers, layers, and more layers. I do want to answer the question about a polar vortex. Everyone keeps saying what is that. We haven't really heard this before? The polar vortex, let me explain this as easily as I can. It's a circulation that's kind of at the pole -- like a tight rubber band and all that air is supposed to stay at the poles.

That's at the strong circulation, but if it weakens that circulation like a rubber band, you kind of let it go a little slower, a little drop comes out of it, that cold air from the poles has dropped into the Midwest yesterday and today has spread into the northeast. So, that is what we're dealing with.

And so much so that actually in the last few hours, just in Minnesota alone, the temperatures about negative 50 this morning, they've already recovered to negative 30. That cold air has now made its way to the northeast. And this is what we're going to be dealing with really for the next day or so, guys.

BOLDUAN: All right. Indra, we'll be checking back in with you. I mean, you can understand that wind just rips right through your clothing -- those temperatures. Thank you so much, Indra.

We're going to take another break here on NEW DAY, but coming up next, the numbers are staggering. 17,000 flights canceled, 17,000, in the last seven days. The bad weather is, of course, at least partly to blame for all of this, but a lot of people are wondering if air travel in America has reached the breaking point.


BOLDUAN: So the brutal cold continues to cause major travel headaches really across the country. Over the past week alone, there have been 17,000 flight cancellations. Is bad weather strictly to blame for the mess or are government rule changes making it worse? Aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, is joining us from Reagan National Airport outside Washington with much more. Good morning, Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. You know, the boards, they're lighting up again for another day. Latest efforts this morning, we have more than 1,800 cancellations, and if you're flying JetBlue this morning, sorry to break it to you, you're going to have some problems, because the airline, they have cut the majority of their flights going into some northeast airports. Take a look right here, in Washington D.C. going to Boston, canceled.


MARSH (voice-over): Frigid temperatures, snow and ice, an awful mix for travelers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so ready to leave here.

MARSH: In the last seven days, more than 17,000 cancellations and more than 40,000 delays. Compare that to a normal week, about 1,400 cancellations. The numbers don't lie and neither do the long lines and unclaimed luggage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been at three different airports since yesterday at 10:00 a.m.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are in our 23rd hour of travel

MARSH: It's been a rough seven days for travelers, and it could be another week before the system is back up to speed. One airline, JetBlue, has grounded nearly all flight operations at four busy airports, JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, and Boston's Logan. The ripple effect, widespread even being felt in Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if anyone actually knows where any of the lines go or what they're for. MARSH: Mother Nature takes part of the blame, but the airline says so does the government. JetBlue says FAA rules that went into effect Saturday requiring pilots to get time to rest is making delays worse. But a pilot's union says the airlines had plenty of time to prepare.

CAPT. SEAN CASSIDY, AIRLINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION: They had two years to anticipate this and to adjust accordingly. So I think it's overly simplistic to suggest that they could ascribe this disruption which happens to be associated with this major, major winter snowstorm and just hang it all on that real making change.

MARSH: Other airlines are also monitoring the weather and scaling back. For passengers, they're all just waiting for a boarding pass that will get them to their destination sooner rather than later is.


MARSH (on-camera): And back out here live, this is the scene here in Washington D.C. People camped out at the airport. One silver lining though, as each day goes by, the system gets a little closer to normal -- Chris and Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: I'm sure as the days go by, it gets tougher and tougher to see that silver lining, Rene. Thank you very much for that.

We're going to take another break here on NEW DAY. Coming up next, a schizophrenic teenager shot and killed by police. The community is outraged and demanding answers. What went wrong?

CUOMO: And many of you are asking if there's any more of the interview. The answer is yes. We'll show you more of the exclusive interview with Dennis Rodman and the men around him, NBA former greats who say they went to North Korea for a culture exchange to help the people there understand basketball and culture.

Dennis Rodman got very upset, though, for different reasons when he was pushed to explain his role in North Korea. We'll show you.