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Dangerous Temperatures; Crops Left in the Cold; Unemployment Battle Rages; Florida State National Champs; Rodman One-On-One

Aired January 7, 2014 - 08:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirty below, forty below, when you get that much, probably it doesn't make a lot of difference.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Arctic blast. The East Coast on the bad side of history, a record freeze jeopardizing props, icing regular life, as offices, schools, and power lines are all frozen.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: NEW DAY exclusive: Dennis Rodman one on one from North Korea. He and his American basketball team explain why they're in the country. Are they just a propaganda tool for Kim Jong- un?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Food fight. They are the mothers who are taking on the corporation behind M&M's. Why they believe the candy is harming their kids and what they want changed.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.


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

BOLDUAN: Good morning once again and welcome back to NEW DAY. It is 8:00 in the East.

New this hour: it's not just cold, it is painful, and it has turned deadly. At least 15 have died in this deep freeze that is stretching from the Great Lakes, all the way to the East and all the way down South. It will be another day of mind numbing cold in major cities. And this wind chill map that we're going to show you tells the story.

Negative 44 in Duluth, negative 30 in Chicago and here in New York, it is negative, it is below 14. And --

CUOMO: And if you're thinking about escaping the ground and getting up in the air, forget it. Air travel has been a nightmare. Some 1,800 flights canceled today due to the cold. JetBlue will resume operation this morning after shutting down for the past 17 hours.

We are covering the cold as only CNN can. Let's start with our meteorologist Indra Petersons, all morning, she's standing feet from a frozen river in Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan, to show you what happens when you stand outside, people positioned in other cities as well.

But we begin with you, our champion -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, here's the good news: the sun is up. Bad news, temperatures, they have gone down. I think you guys just said it. We are now down to four degrees without the wind chill, with wind chill, a whopping 14 below right now.

And I think it's that unique characteristic of the winds howling. I mean, the winds have really kicked up. We're talking about 40 miles per hour winds now. Wind chill includes both.

But I have to say, a stagnant 20 below in Boston, never felt as bad as is this 14 below, with the strong winds. That is the concern. This arctic air is still moving into the Northeast, spreading quickly even in the southeast affecting millions of us today.


PETERSONS (voice-over): The coldest 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. From the Midwest to Northeast, schools and government offices are closed this morning as bitter cold arctic air plunges to dangerous sub zero levels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Usually, it snow if anything, not cold.

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

UNIDENTIFIED: About 10 to 15 minutes, we're looking at potential for frostbite. So, for our kids who were walking to school, we'll have to wait at 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: It's a very hazardous combination. Very cold weather that we have and 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 tracks leaving 500 passengers stranded overnight. Even this plow couldn't dig them out. One passenger tweeted, I would cry about being stuck in this Amtrak, but my tears would probably just freeze.

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

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


PETERSONS: You know, the temperature here is so cold it's sucking the battery out of my ear piece. I keep turning the volume up and seconds later it's going down. We're talk absolute terrible chill out here.

When your fingers are freezing, face hurts, your eyes hurt. That's what people have to deal with as they go outside today. The problem is, the temperatures are not expected to warm as we go throughout the day, because that cold arctic air mass is still making its way in, hence the reason for strong winds moving into the area.

So no relief in site. Many people have to make their way to work today and again back home today after work as the cold air will still be in place. The bad side of this, we're going to be talking strong winds and lake-effect snow, even as much as five feet out towards Buffalo today. So, definitely, some concerns out here for many of us.

CUOMO: Sub zero temperatures, wind blowing in your face, and yet still able to broadcast. Strong, strong, strong. Go get back in the van.

PETERSONS: Thank you.

CUOMO: It has been decades since some places have experienced this kind of cold. For example, Chicago is no stranger to brutal winters, right? But it feels more like Siberia there right now. And, you know why? Because the temperatures and winds in Chicago are like those in Siberia.

So what about the people who have to work outside in these elements? How are they coping?

CNN's George Howell, our resident ice man, is live in Chicago, braving it and explaining it this morning -- George.


You have to give Stephanie Elam credit. Just a few minutes ago, seeing her in Minneapolis dealing with colder temperatures there than what we're seeing here in Chicago, where right now it's negative nine degrees, but feels like negative 30, very cold weather.

And for anyone who has to go out and work in this today, two words: bundle up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bundle up with my boots on, three or four pair of socks. There or four pair of sweat pants.

HOWELL (voice-over): With temperatures plunging below zero and the most of the country, the safest place is without question indoors. For those who's office is outside, frostbite becomes an occupational hazard. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just got to do your job. That's what we're here for.

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

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is completely, as you can see, completely ice.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Out here everyday no matter if it's raining, snowing or bitter cold like today.


HOWELL: You know, about this time here in Chicago, you see people starting to head to work here on the Magnificent Mile. You know what, not many people out now. Those who are out, they are like me. They are all bundled up.

One, good news for school children here, good news for them at least, that they have yet another day for school canceled simply because of cold weather out here. Again, Kate, something that typically happen here in Chicago, I can barely talk. It's just very cold weather.

BOLDUAN: Yes. People in the Midwest, we're used to cold, but this is too cold. I think everyone can agree.

George, thank you so much. So, from Chicago to Florida, even parts of Florida are on wind chill warnings this morning. Farmers and citrus growers are taking extreme measures to try to protect their crop.

Tory Dunnan is live in Plant City, Florida, with much more on this very important angle of the story, Tory.

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Kit (ph), farmers say, for the next 24 hours or so, they're going to be watching that temperature, watching thermometers closely. But they say so far so good. So, that's the good news.

Although I have to tell you, farmers out here in this strawberry fields in Plant City, Florida, have been walking through the fields. They've been checking these leaves as well as berries for any frost. They've also been taking a close look at this thermometer here. The lowest reading they got was about 32, 33 degrees. It was right on the edge. It was teetering on the edge, but they say it wasn't quite cold enough to cause any damage.

Now, there are other concerns in other parts of the state where actually some of the temperatures were just a little colder, concerns about the tomatoes, sweet corn and other crops.

But, Chris, I have to tell you here in Florida, bottom line, these temperatures are just not normal. It is cold. Floridians, I know myself, I used to live here. They get cold when it's about 70s. So, anything in the 30s is pretty brutal here.

CUOMO: Yes. I'm sure right now, Tory. And it's going to be felt for months going forward when those props get light because demand will wind up outstrip supplies. Important to monitor. Thanks for doing that.

In other weather-related news, JetBlue is canceling almost all of its flights out of four airports today for a good part of today. JetBlue says it's part for the fallout of wintry weather, obviously, and partially, an effort to catch up under new rules. What rules?

Christine Romans is here to explain.

What's going on?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, new FAA rules. And they're the only airline that's blaming that on this delay.

This is unheard of for an airline to essentially stop. JetBlue is freezing its operation at Boston Logan, also at JFK and in Newark. You've got also -- there we go, let me back up here.

You've got a real problem with airlines. They're blaming flight crews as part of this. Four airports plagued by snow and high wind this week.

But JetBlue has decided to reset canceling all at airports starting yesterday. They're going to be taking off again today at 10:00 a.m. you guys. They say they should be 100 percent by 3:00 p.m.

It needs to give the crews 17 hours of rest. And that means they're going to also be service in the aircraft in that. Bad weather is obvious. But unlike other airlines, they're also blaming this new regulations that require flight crews have a minimum 10 hours of rest for crew.

Weather delays have crews timing out, if you will, while waiting to take off. So you've got this huge ripple effect for the airline.

Some experts say they should have known about this you guys. They should have hired more for personnel in anticipation. But regardless, JetBlue says this break is going to help everything get back on track.

One important thing here. If you were set to fly, you can rebook your travel, you can request a refund. JetBlue is waiving some change fees for flights, guys, from January 2nd all the way through today. So, it shouldn't cost you anything extra. But aviation experts are saying what is going on here inside JetBlue? Why do they have to essentially have this reset when other airlines are still flying in many cases? JetBlue obviously grappling with these new FAA regulations, yes, also these multiple storms and colds, but it's something that the other airlines are managing a little bit better you guys.

BOLDUAN: All right, Christine. These new regulations and the bad weather -- talk about bad timing for all of it. Thank you so much.

Now, happening in Washington today, yes, it's cold, but there's a lot going on.

President Barack Obama lays out his case for extending long term unemployment benefits. And the Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote, a key procedural vote on the issue this morning. Last night's vote set to happen last night -- it was postponed as Democrats are still scrambling to muster the votes to get it through this step.

CNN's Jim Acosta is at the White House with much more on this very big and important debate going on in Washington starting today -- Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate. Apparently it's so cold it's getting this the way of getting business done here in Washington. The vote was expected to happen yesterday evening in the yet. The Senate was expected to have a vote to extend long term unemployment benefits.

And Senator John Cornyn went to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and said, hey, we have 17 senators who aren't in town right now in part because of this polar vortex and all of the travel delays. And so, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, you know what? We're going to go ahead and delay until this morning 10:30 a.m. That's when it's expected to happen.

Our CNN vote counters up on Capitol Hill are saying that Democrats may be one vote shy of this. So, when this vote happens at 10:30, if it fails, what you're going to see happen, Kate and Chris, at 11:40 a.m. over here at the White House, the president was already scheduled to come out, stand with people who's unemployment insurance has already run out. He's going to make another pitch to pass those benefits.

But if this vote fails, expect the president to go right at Republicans, even though we're in the New Year, the Democrats see a winning issue for them heading into the midterm campaigns. And so, expect the president to come out swinging if this vote fails in the Senate in a couple of hours from now -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right. Jim Acosta, reporting from D.C. Thanks so much for that.

Let's take a look at other headlines making news today, beginning with developments on Iraq.

Vice President Joe Biden calling Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al- Maliki to voice his support for Iraq's fight against al Qaeda-linked militants, the White House saying it's speeding up its deliveries of military equipment to Iraq to help the effort. We have learned the prosecutors are trying to reach a plea deal with the Indian diplomat who's arrest led to outcry overseas. The lawyer for Devyani Khobragade has asked a judge for an extension before prosecutors must return an indictment. The uproar began over reports Ms. Khobragade was strip searched when she was arrested, on charges she fraudulently obtained a visa for her housekeeper.

New developments in the Steubenville rape case. One of the football players convicted last year raping his 16-year-old girl is now free from juvenile detention. Ma'lik Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year minimum in a juvenile facility. His family in a statement says he is now, quote, "a better, stronger person." The second player convicted in the case Trenton Mays is serving a two-year sentence.

The woman known as Jihad Jane learned her sentence. Colleen LaRose was sentenced to 10 years in prison for being involved in a failed al Qaeda plot to kill a Swedish cartoonish. The judge included the four years LaRose already served, meaning she has six years left, that cartoonish sparked outrage in 2007 for depicting the Prophet Muhammad with a body of a dog.

Trending now, quite an odd scene at the consumer electronic show in Vegas. Director Michael Bay was on stage to help promote a 105-inch television when he ran into some trouble with the script and prompter and walked off stage.

In a statement on his Web site, Bay said he skipped over a line on the teleprompter, couldn't find his spot back, failed at ad libbing. He said later he's embarrassed. He embarrassed himself and he guesses that maybe live shows aren't his thing.

It was an awkward thing to watch. You feel for him. If you've ever had stage fright or ever found yourself unprepared.

BOLDUAN: Or been on live TV when the prompter fails.

PEREIRA: Yes! The worse.

BOLDUAN: We know what you're feeling.


PEREIRA: The worse.

CUOMO: Just say the word rather a lot as it's happening.


BOLDUAN: Or reportedly or allegedly.

CUOMO: For example.


PEREIRA: Or I can't hear you. My favorite as the guy on faulty towers used to do, just faint. BOLDUAN: Just faint?

PEREIRA: Yes. Just faint.

BOLDUAN: That's his version of faint.

CUOMO: -- is your first step. For example, we're now going to talk to you about the Oregon -- rather the Auburn Tigers.


PEREIRA: But can you say rather for like five minutes?

CUOMO: I think you can. They needed just three rather one more miracle to take home the BCS Championship last night.


CUOMO: It's all about how you present it. All right. However, it was the Heisman trophy winning quarterback, a man named as Jameis Winston in the Florida Seminoles who pulled off the miraculous comeback Wednesday through a game-winning touchdown 13 ticks left on the clock to seal this 34-31 win for the ages (ph).

Joe Carter watched it all unfold, joining us from Pasadena which is not frozen. Joe, looking good, feeling good. Tell us about the game.

JOE CARTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I'll tell you what, Chris, Florida State a team that was labeled the team of dominance because they had pretty much steam rolled through the entire schedule, they were on the ropes last night first time this season. I mean, Auburn came out and frustrated. Jameis Winston, the Heisman trophy winner, they frustrated the Florida Seminoles, Florida State Seminoles.

And they were down by as many as 18 points in the first half, but in the second half, that's when they amounted that incredible comeback and proved to the rest of the country why they are the best team in college football.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- flips down!

CARTER (voice-over): 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 crazy, man. It's insane. Every college player's dream to be in this situation right now. We did hit and we made it happen.

CARTER: With under 1:30 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 football game he played all year. And I tell you why, three quarters he was up and down. Anybody can do it when it's they're a-game night. A lot of guys can do that. Very few can do it when it's not their night and to pull it out in the atmospheric and environment and with what was on the line tonight, to me -- if that's not a great player, I don't know what 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: I want to thank you as we're victorious. It's glad to say Florida State is a national champion again. And I guarantee you, we're 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 2014 play off.


CARTER (on-camera): Well, a big win on the field for Florida State, wasn't without controversy off the field. During Jameis Winston's post-game interview at ESPN, Alabama quarterback, AJ McCarron's mother sent out a derogatory tweet about Jameis Winston and A.J. McCarron's girlfriend, Katherine Webb, if you remember became famous at last year's BCS title game, she favored a derogatory tweet about Jameis Winston.

A.J. McCarron's mother later deleted the tweet, and she did have apology tweet basically saying that she is not racist -- guys.

BOLDUAN: All right. Joe, thanks so much.

CUOMO: But the game was still a great game, and that will be his biggest memory from the night and his families as well.


CUOMO: I am sure.

Coming up on NEW DAY, Dennis Rodman enraged. Why? Because of the questions he was being asked. You've heard him be questioned about his role in North Korea before. Why so angry today? The men around him, NBA former greats, Charles Smith, speaks in defense of Dennis Rodman and more importantly the mission there. They want to spread cultural exchange.

But what about Kenneth Bae? What about Rodman's responsibility, the man calls his friend? You'll hear it.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, the numbers will stop you in your tracks. More than 17,000 flights canceled in the last seven days. The airlines blame the bad weather, but that may be only part of it. Folks, a lot of people are wondering if air travel in America has simply reached the breaking point.


CUOMO: Welcome back to a NEW DAY exclusive. Dennis Rodman, the ex- NBA star, you know about his exploits in North Korea. He is now with a group of former NBA players who are there, they say, to play basketball, that politics doesn't matter, that they're just trying to expose people there in a cultural exchange, and that may all be true, but there are bigger issues, aren't there?

His game has been a gift, a birthday present to the man you're looking at right now, the ruler Kim Jong-Un, a man who Dennis Rodman calls his buddy, the man he says he loves, the man who just killed his uncle and holding an American, Kenneth Bae, hostage. None of that has cooled Rodman's apparent affection. In fact, it has kind of lit his fire. Take a listen at what he said.


DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Why North Korea? Why? I love my friend. I love my friend. This is my friend.

CHARLES SMITH, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Let me add to this. People have asked why we've come here. We're here because it's about doing great will around the world. We're experienced at this. We've been to Taiwan to the (INAUDIBLE) village. We love to impact children and families around the world.

CUOMO: Charles -- I'm well aware of the good work that you've done. The man sitting to your right Flip Robinson, Vin Baker, but you have to understand, the 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?

SMITH: I think in our minds we came to do what we've been doing worldwide which has been the same schedule. We're all Americans. We're here to do goodwill. And again, we're apologetic. We did not know that it was going to take this type of negative spin on what we're doing, because we're not politicians. We're not ambassadors. We 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 gain, this is coming from somebody who's a fan and supporter of a lot of the work that you've done. But Dennis, when you bring them into this place and this place and call this ruler your friend when he's executing his uncle, and he's holding an American hostage, he is not a friend to the Bae family.

He is not a friend to your country. And you have to understand that, Dennis. You can't pretend like you don't get why people are upset.

RODMAN: It's amazing that, you know, you're saying this right now. You're saying 10 guys here -- nine guys here, they believe what I'm doing. Everyone knows Doug Christie. Everyone knows Vin Baker. Everyone knows Charles Smith. Everyone knows all -- everyone here. It's amazing how we strive on negativity. Did anyone know this guy's only 31 years old?

CUOMO: Hey, Dennis, he could be 31. He could be 51. He just killed his uncle and he's holding an American hostage. The family is desperate for his return. They don't even know why he's being held. It's been a year, Dennis. This is your friend, the guy you call your friend. Come on, Dennis. Let's just be honest about this because you put these guys in this situation.

RODMAN: No, no, no. Watch this. I'm going to tell you one thing around the world.


RODMAN: When you say ten great individuals sitting right in front of your face around the world, this is going global. These guys have certain things about their families, what they're saying about them, what they hear. This is not about me. It's one thing -- if I can open the door a little bit, just a little bit -- it ain't about like you know trying to crack -- you know planning the will.

This is one thing. You know what, no one ever, ever asked anyone in the world why we have Olympics. We have struggles around the world in all countries in the world. When Olympics are around, there's no problems. It's all about the game. People love to do one thing, sports.


CUOMO: Obviously, this is a little complicated, right, because Charles Smith and those other men, they do cultural exchange. They do what Dennis Rodman is suggesting there about trying to spread basketball as kind of goodwill, expose the people there in North Korea. They sorely need it.

BOLDUAN: But, as you point out and we well know, this is different.

CUOMO: This is. I mean, you've got this one American family. And by the way, the record of human right atrocities there is easy to discover and goes far beyond the Bae family, but they're an American family. That could be a concern for Americans there like Dennis Rodman, but it is his fervor and defending the ruler and taking a shot at Kenneth Bae as you will see.

We're going to come back and give you a little bit more of this interview. Kenneth Bae, you've heard about him, 46-year-old man. He's been held for a year, supposedly crimes against the state. No real information from the North Korean government. We'll show you more of the interview and you can decide for yourself.