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Cold Front Hits Half of U.S.; Russia Increases Security Ahead of Winter Olympics; Florida State Wins BCS Championship; Dennis Rodman Talks About North Korea; Obama Pushes for Unemployment Benefits Extension

Aired January 7, 2014 - 07:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't remember a storm like this for a while.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Subzero nation. The east coast is frozen. How will 100 million cope as government, schools, offices all close? Witness the toll. This Amtrak train frozen in its track.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: NEW DAY exclusive. Dennis Rodman one on one answering the tough questions from North Korea as he prepares for his exhibition game there. Is Rodman helping open up the country or propping up a vicious dictator.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Worst dating profile ever. She made herself out to be an absolutely awful person online, but posted these gorgeous photos. So were men still interested? Do you even have to ask? The woman behind the experiment joins us live.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, January 7, 7:00 in the east. The brutal cold snap is moving east, proving deadly, not letting up. Take a look at the map. The numbers tell the story. The colors are startling. You see it stretching from north to south, the plains to the Atlantic. In fact every state except Hawaii is seeing freezing conditions somewhere. Major cities like Chicago, many people are seeing some of the coldest readings in years. In New York it feels like negative 11, Chicago, 30 below, in Duluth, Minnesota, 44 below zero.

BOLDUAN: And another day of flight troubles as well, more than 1,800 canceled already. That includes all JetBlue flights in or out of Boston and New York until later this morning. Emergencies have been declared in Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and western New York. We have complete coverage of all the angles of the cold blast. We're going to start with meteorologist Indra Peterson in New York City. Indra?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Looks like -- you know, I keep thinking, I am tougher than this. I've been in temperatures colder than this. But for some reason, today is just so difficult. It really is, again, all thanks to these winds that are just howling out here, 40 miles per hour, with temperatures making it feel like 10 below. It is making it truly unbearable. That is the story for millions of Americans today as the cold arctic air has spread down into the northeast and even down into the southeast.


PETERSONS: The oldest air in decades gripping more than half of the country. Temperatures are falling fast as thousands are waking up again without power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is extremely cold.

PETERSONS: From the Midwest to the northeast, schools and government offices are closed this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Usually it's snow if anything. Not cold.

PETERSONS: In Minneapolis, it feels like temps were a deadly 40 below on Monday, closing schools across the entire state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In about 10 to 15 minutes we're looking at the potential for frostbite. So for kids walking to school or waiting at the bus stop, that's extremely dangerous.

PETERSONS: The governor of Illinois issued a disaster declaration as major interstates froze over with black ice.

GOV. PAT QUINN, ILLINOIS: Very cold weather that we have, and the black ice that you really don't see until you start slipping and sliding.

PETERSONS: And about 80 miles north of Chicago, densely drifting snow stopped three Amtrak trains dead in their tracks, leaving over 500 passengers stranded overnight. Even this plow couldn't dig them out. One passenger tweeted, "I would cry about being stuck on this Amtrak, but my tears would probably just freeze."

Indiana's governor declaring a state of emergency in more than two dozen counties, driving banned in some areas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been here all my life, and I don't remember a storm like this for a while.


PETERSONS: You know, we heard yesterday, there was a particularly dangerous situation in Minnesota and South Dakota where temperatures were a good 50 degrees below zero. But how much is the change here for the northeast? To put it in perspective, yesterday in New York City at this time it was 55 degrees with the wind-chill. Right now, it is about 10 below. So you're talking about a 60 degree temperature change in less than 24 hours. That is how quickly this has spread into the northeast. As the day goes on, only about a two degree warm- up is expected even as go into the afternoon today as that cold air continues to spread into this region. Same thing for the southeast. Temperatures there will be at the freezing mark, even into Florida today, 40s, where yesterday they were looking at the 70s.

Good news, there is relief in sight. By tomorrow, things should start to warm up. But of course it takes time. When you start out this cold, about a 10 degree warm0up for each city every day. So again, it will take a little bit of time guys.

BOLDUAN: Indra, as quickly as the temperatures dropped, it's sure going to be a slow warm-up. Thanks, Indra.

So as cold as it is, not everyone is able to spend the day inside. There are men and women whose livelihoods depend on them being outdoor to do their jobs. Chief among them, first responders who often put their lives at risk but are taking it to a whole new level today as frostbite poses a very real concern. In Chicago, the overnight low was 16 below. As we speak it's still bitterly cold with a wind-chill of negative 30. George Howell is there unemployment with much more. Good morning, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, good morning. That five degrees in New York sounds kind of nice. Negative nine degrees here in Chicago. It feels like 30 below. And for anyone who has to be outside today, two words -- bundle up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bundle up, put my boots on, two or three pair of socks.

HOWELL: With temperatures plunging below zero in most of the country, the safest place to be is, without question, indoors. But for those whose office is outside, frostbite becomes an occupational hazard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just got to do your job. It's what we're here for.

HOWELL: Firefighters in Ohio battling both the blaze and the cold used the exhaust from their truck to heat up their gloves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any water that's on our gear, it's going to freeze in a matter of minutes. This is completely ice.

HOWELL: In Wisconsin, where one death has been attributed to the brutal cold, city of Milwaukee workers piled on the layers working to keep the streets lit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're out here every day no matter if it's raining snowing or in bitter cold like today.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOWELL: So as some workers have to get back outside today, some good news for school children here in Chicago, yet for another day, schools are closed here, something that doesn't really happen here in Chicago. But again, the weather is just so cold, that's the call they made.

CUOMO: Got to be safe, George. Thank you for being there for us. Now, the breath of this dangerous deep freeze is stretching into the south where they're not used to getting things like this, not even close. So there's real concern about the damage the arctic blast might do to crops. CNN's Alina Machado is tracking that part of the situation live in Atlanta. What do we know?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, it's about seven degrees here. Every time the wind picks up, it is absolutely brutal. Here in Atlanta, we know there's an emergency shelter that's opened up to allow people to go inside and get refuge from the bitter cold. This church also opening its door for the first time, allowing people to come in and spend the night. They opened up last night. About two dozen people spent the night here, and they'll be opening up again tonight. It's difficult to talk because it's so cold out here. We also know that several school districts throughout the south are also closed. Here in Atlanta, schools are closed. We know that there are also closures in North Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee. The bottom line, people are being urged to stay home.

BOLDUAN: All right, Alina, thank you so much for that.

Also new this morning, Russia ramping up security for the upcoming winter Olympics. The games begin just one month from today. And with Moscow still reeling from two deadly suicide bombings, more than 30,000 officers and troops have been deployed in an unprecedented security operation. CNN's Diana Magnay is there tracking all of the developments this morning. Good morning, Diana.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. Well, you can be sure that there is no stone left unturned and no expense spared in terms of security at these Olympic Games. And today a large part of the security plan goes into place. Basically the restricted zone, which is a huge area around the Sochi town where the Olympics are going to be goes into force. That means you can't bring any cars in. You can't get in unless you have special I.D.'s. There's going to be huge amounts of surveillance. Don't expect your privacy to be protected if you're a journalist operating at Sochi. It's all going to be monitored and watched. You have drones that are going to be overhead. You have solar technology survey link the waters of the Black Sea. So you can be pretty sure that Sochi itself with be secure. President Putin does not want this pet project of his overturned by any kind of terrorist attack. But of course those attacks you mentioned in the city of Volgagrad show that there are vulnerabilities elsewhere, further away from this big, secured area. Chris, back to you.

CUOMO: Thank you very much for watching that situation for us.

We're going to come back to the U.S. now for a game of almost Olympic magnitude that happened last night. The Auburn Tigers needed just one more miracle to take home the BCS championship. But it was Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston with the Florida Seminoles who pulled off a miraculous comeback, almost Auburn-esche. Winston throwing a game-winning touchdown with just 13 seconds left, a thrilling 34-31 win for the ages. Joe Carter got to watch it all unfold. He joins us this morning. Not cold there, game red hot. Tell us about it, Joe.

JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You got it, Chris. Where the rest of the country is freezing, we saw about 77 degrees yesterday. Obviously, weather wasn't a problem for us here in Pasadena. What an amazing national championship game. Of course this is the final year of the BCS. Next ear, everything goes to a four-team playoff. But as far as ending this whole BSC, boy, we did in great fashion. Auburn really frustrated Florida State for the first time all season. Auburn frustrated them, but in the second half Florida State settled in and they certainly proved why they are the best team in all of college football.



CARTER: With their final touchdown of the season, Florida State and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston's dream season was complete. For the first time this season the Seminoles had to do something they hadn't done all season long, mount a comeback.

JAMES WILDER JR., FLORIDA STATE RUNNING BACK: It's insane, every college player's dream to be in this situation right now.

CARTER: With under one minute and 30 seconds to go, Florida State trailed Auburn 31-27, and that's when Winston, who had struggled for much of the night, put the team on his back and had his Heisman moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the best game he played all year. And I'll tell you why -- because for three quarters he was up and down. Anybody can do it when it's their A-game night. Very few can do it when it's not their night. To me, if that's not a great player, I don't know what one is.

CARTER: In the final year of the BCS it was team dominance outlasting the team of destiny. While the Seminoles have the best player in the country in Jameis Winston, they've now proven they are the best team in the country.

JAMEIS WINSTON, FLORIDA STATE QUARTERBACK: We're victorious and it's glad to say Florida State is a national championship again. And I guarantee you, we bringing the swag back. You better believe it.


CARTER: So Florida State ends the season on top. And don't be surprised to see them back in the hunt and in next year's four team playoff.


CARTER: So the best score of the night had to be Jameis Winston when he said all the individual awards that he'd won throughout the season didn't amount to the amount of respect that he had earned from his teammates in that final drive for Florida State to pull off that last second touchdown, so obviously showing why he was named college football's top player with the Heisman trophy.

PEREIRA: A lot of happy, happy people in Florida, and also a few envious people watching you there in Pasadena. Enjoy that weather for us out east, OK?

CARTER: No problem.

PEREIRA: Let's take a look at the headlines at 15 minutes after the top of the hour. Vice President Joe Biden is stressing U.S. support for Iraq's government in the face of escalating violence by Al Qaeda linked militants. Biden spoke by phone with Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. Meantime, the Obama administration says it's stepping up deliveries of military equipment and putting missiles and surveillance drones to help fight insurgents, but will not be sending troops into Iraq.

This morning a federal judge rules that Chicago's gun ban is unconstitutional, saying the flat ban on legitimate sales and transfer went too far. The judge also said he wasn't convinced that banning gun sales by licensed dealers was necessary to reduce gun violence. He did not rule out other types of regulation, and he stayed his ruling to give the city time to file an appeal.

She is in very bad shape. That's how the lawyer for the family of Jahi McCath is describing the 13-year-old brain dead girl. She was transferred from Oakland hospital to a care facility Sunday night. The family plans to sue the hospital for not feeding her after she was declared brain dead. It is unclear where Jahi's body was taken. It is believed that she is still in California.

An American climber has been killed in Mexico on Mexico's highest mountain. Authorities say 25-year-old Charles King slipped on an icy slope at 15,000 feet while climbing. He fell about 300 feet to his death. Three companions with him were rescued.

New details this morning on an emergency landing for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. He tweeted that he and other passengers on a flight to Washington noticed the engine on the plane making a strange sound. The FAA confirms a cockpit indicator showed a possible problem with the plane's right engine. The pilot declared emergency, turned right back around to South Carolina, and that plane landed without incident.

Travel woes, thankfully. My goodness.

BOLDUAN: More than a dozen senators couldn't make it back to Washington for the vote last night because of weather. His was mechanical.

PEREIRA: Yeah. Exactly.

BOLDUAN: Troubles all around.

CUOMO: Hopefully when they get there, they have a better sense of purpose.

BOLDUAN: They do something.

CUOMO: How hard they work to get there in the first place.

All right, we have a NEW DAY exclusive for you. Dennis Rodman is in North Korea. You probably know this. He's with a team of former NBA guys, good guys who are there on a cultural exchange mission. They're trying to help the people there in North Korea.

But what about Kenneth Bae? What about the human rights atrocities? What about the fact that this game has been presented as a gift to the ruler there for his birthday?

Well, Dennis Rodman didn't like those questions, and he got very heated up with the questions you have to ask given the situation. There's a lot of energy on social media about the interview. For those who missed it, we have more.

Here it is right now.


DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: People always turn down (ph) the things I do, and it's weird. It's like wow. You know, but you -- you get Michael Jordan. You get Delibrian (ph), stuff like this. They can do all the cool things in the world, but me? Say why North Korea? Why?

I love my friend. I love my friend. This is my friend.

CUOMO: But you have to understand that criticism comes because you are not in Taiwan. You are in North Korea that is ruled by a man who just killed his uncle, who is holding an American, Kenneth Bae, hostage for reasons we don't understand, and is known as one of the bad actors on the globe at this time, not someone to get a birthday present of NBA talent. Do you understand that?

CHARLES SMITH, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Well, we do understand one thing. I mean, you have to live under a rock not to know the press that was coming, or the press that has been out there prior to our coming to North Korea.

I think that in our minds, we came to do what we've been doing worldwide, which has been the same schedule. That has been our intent.

And again, we are apologetic. I have the same remorse, and I think the guys have the same remorse that is similar to the same adulation I had being a 1988 Olympian and playing on the world stage for our country. We're all Americans. We're here to do good will, and again, we're apologetic. We did not know that it was going to take this type of negative spin on what we were doing. Because we're not politicians. We're not ambassadors. We're here to do what we've been doing most of our lives.

CUOMO: Charles, I get it. But it's about where you do it as well. And again, this is coming from somebody who is a fan and a supporter of a lot of the work that you've done.

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 --

RODMAN: Right.

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

RODMAN: Watch this -- the one thing about politics, Kenneth Bae (inaudible). If you understand what Kenneth Bae did --

CUOMO: Yeah?

RODMAN: -- do you understand what he did --

CUOMO: What did he do? You tell me.

RODMAN: -- in this country?

CUOMO: You tell me, what did he do?

RODMAN: In -- no, no, no, you tell me. You tell me why is he held captive?

CUOMO: They haven't released any charges.

RODMAN: In (ph) this country?

CUOMO: They haven't released any charges.


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

CUOMO: Go ahead.

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

CUOMO: We do, and we appreciate that, and we wish them well with --


RODMAN: No, I don't give a (expletive deleted) -- I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you thinking. I'm saying to you, look at these guys here. Look at them!

CUOMO: Yeah, but Dennis, don't put it on them.


CUOMO: Don't use them as an excuse for the behavior that you're putting on yourself.

RODMAN: They came here!

CUOMO: You just basically were saying that Kenneth Bae did something wrong. We don't even know what the charges are.


CUOMO: Don't use these guys as a shield for you, Dennis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can -- listen -- listen -- listen.


RODMAN: Hold up! Ain't no shield! I got it! I got it! Let me do this. Let me -- I want to tell you one thing. People around the world -- around the world -- I'm gonna do one thing. You'll hide (ph) behind the mike right now. We are the guys here doing one thing.

We have to go back to America and take the abuse. Do you have to take the abuse? Well, we gonna take -- do you, sir -- let me know, are you gonna take the abuse? We're gonna get it. Well guess what, one day -- one day this door is going to open because this team guys here, all of us, Christie, Vin, Dennis, Charles, all these -- I mean, 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. There's -- we're in passage with about 50 people. There are other Americans that have been to Korea, in and out of Korea. They're here on the tour. They're here with us. We can interact with them, as well.

The key is, you can -- they, Dennis or any of us --

CUOMO: Charles, that's not my intentions.

(CROSSTALK) SMITH: But that's not --

CUOMO: Charles, it's not my intention. It really isn't.

SMITH: Let me finish. That's --

CUOMO: It really isn't.

SMITH: Let me finish.

CUOMO: Please.

SMITH: If that's not you -- if that's not your intention -- if that's not your intention, we've 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 us into politics. And that's not what 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 it to, and I wish you a safe trip home.

Thank you for joining us this morning.


CUOMO: And I think Charles Smith is exactly right. I think that's what he believes. I think he does cultural exchange missions like this. Unfortunately, this game has been spun by Rodman and the administration there as a gift to the ruler. And Dennis Rodman is relevant on a level that goes to the human abuses that are there and to, certainly, the situation with Kenneth Bae.

So these guys are kind of caught there. And hopefully they open the eyes of the people there, and then they get home safe.

BOLDUAN: I think that's a good point. I mean, they're caught there, but there's no way they didn't know what they were walking into when they --

CUOMO: Yeah, Charles Smith said he's surprised a little bit of the reaction, but again, I believe his intentions are what they are. Charles Smith is known for good works, and they do travel around. But Rodman creates a different dynamic. Kenneth Bae creates a different dynamic.

And to speak to that issue, we will have Kenneth Bae's sister talking to us in the next hour to explain what happened to her brother, who was kind of accused of something by Dennis Rodman there. But you'll hear from her coming up. BOLDUAN: We're gonna take a break here on NEW DAY, but also coming up, a teenager who suffers from schizophrenia shot and killed by police. His parents called them for help during one of his episodes. So how did the situation end the way it did?


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Time now for our political gut check of the morning.

Later today, President Obama will be giving remarks calling on Congress to extend unemployment benefits, those benefits that lapsed last month. This after he worked the phones calling senators on Monday in anticipation of today's key procedural vote.

But will his push be enough to rally the Republican votes needed to pass? And really, what are the politics at play on this very important issue?

CNN's chief national correspondent John King is here with much more on this. Happy new year, John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Happy new year, Chris, Kate and Michaela.

This is an interesting vote that will begin an interesting debate that's gonna carry through this very important mid-term election year. Will there be enough votes this morning? The expectation in most camps is that Republicans have just enough votes to block this temporary extension for now. But let's watch. Let's watch.

Our Capitol Hill team -- we have great reporters up there, Kate, as you know, saying that this is razor close right now. So we'll see if there are any last minute shifts.

The expectation is it will fall just short. But a number of Republicans saying, let's continue the conversation. We want to do this. We want to extend those benefits. We want to find a way to pay for it.

But today's the opening chapter in what is going to be a year-long debate, not only about the jobless and how to help them, but about poverty and the economy.

So it's a good start to the election year.

BOLDUAN: And you talk about kind of this year-long debate because this does seem to be setting the agenda that Democrats will be making this a central issue of their agenda in this campaign year.

They -- Democrats seem to think that there's -- this is a win-win on this vote. They either get the extension of the unemployment benefits or -- I mean, let's be honest -- then they think they can blame Republicans if it doesn't pass.

KING: Well, let's be honest on another part. This is a debate worth having, especially if the economy is about to kick into a higher gear like most economists think. There are people out there who are enjoying the recovery. There are other people out there who are bystanders to the recovery.

And so, let's have a debate. And it's -- I personally think it's a great debate that you have some conservatives coming to the table and saying we don't want to do it the way you want to do it, Mr. President, when it comes to poverty, when it comes to long-term unemployment. We have other ideas. Well, let's have that debate.

So there's a great policy debate that can be had here. We'll see if the Congress and the president and, you know, members of the House and the Senate keep it as a policy debate.

But there's also some bald politics here, Kate. The Republicans think keeping a focus on Obamacare and on the president is their best recipe for success in 2014. Democrats think if we can talk about things like the minimum wage, like the unemployed, like income inequality, they can change the narrative a little bit and get it away from Obamacare, number one, and number two, motivate voters who would be more inclined to vote Democrat to stay engaged when we get between now, early January, closer to election day come November.

CUOMO: What's your take on this, John? Fair criticism that these needy individuals and families, which is pretty inarguable, are being somewhat held hostage by what we're calling a debate because extending the benefits seems like somewhat of a no-brainer given the absence of job market or any better prospects.

But the Democrats are saying this is also a job program and they have a CBO report that it will give you 300,000 jobs, which is odd, right, that you're going to use unemployment benefits to stimulate the economy.

And the Republicans are saying, well, we're against it because this will freeze job growth. Are they holding these people hostage? I mean, shouldn't these be extended and then have a legitimate jobs policy discussion?

KING: That is part of the debate here in Washington. And look, you can go back to the Clinton days where we had the welfare to work argument.