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Killer Cold; Killer Avalanche In Colorado; Robert Gates Tell All; Reaction to Dennis Rodman; Cheese Alert: Velveeta Running Low

Aired January 8, 2014 - 06:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- his fiery interview here on NEW DAY. We are tracking the fallout from Washington to Pyongyang.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Target hero, she's the employee that spotted something amiss. With her quick action, she was able to save this kidnapped 7-year-old girl. Now this, the kidnapper is speaking out from jail.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. How you doing? Good? Good. It's Wednesday, January 8th, 6:00 in the east. Millions of Americans still hanging on in the final hours of this killer cold. We are still seeing single digit temperatures in north east and windchills well below zero in the Midwest.

Have you seen this? Extraordinary video from Minneapolis, this shows the danger of driving on these icy roads. A woman loses control of her truck and goes flying right over a guardrail. She goes down 30 feet, lands on a frozen pond. We're showing it to you because she is OK. Can you imagine that? Very lucky.

BOLDUAN: And with the cold, of course, often comes the snow. It's falling heavily in upstate New York right now creating very dangerous conditions. We are covering this story like no other network can with our correspondents on the scene and of course, meteorologist, Indra Petersons, here tracking the forecast.

Let's begin with Pamela Brown. It's not only because she is near frozen at this point, live from the suburbs of Buffalo, New York. How is it there this morning?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate, much more time out here and I probably will be frozen. Let me tell you something. It is brutal. It's the kind of cold that makes your cheeks hurt really. The wicked winds and the biting cold, of course, the snow we're dealing with as well. This has been the scene here in Buffalo ever since the warning went into effect here Monday evening.

And of course, we have the yard stick here taking a look at the inches of snow here at Buffalo. We're seeing about 15 inches of snow right now depending on where you put the yard stick. And this has really been an epic event here in Buffalo because it's the first blizzard warning here since 1993.


BROWN (voice-over): Overnight, the bitter cold temps and howling winds creating whiteout conditions over our nation's snow belts, major highway shutdown in Buffalo as gusts of 40 miles an hour, snow piling up the rate of 2 inches an hour. Police forced to use snow mobiles to rescue stranded drivers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still a very, very life threatening situation if you should happen to be in a vehicle that gets stuck along the side of the road.

BROWN: A blizzard trifecta of biting cold, whipping winds and in some areas lake-effect snow, which happens when bitterly cold air passes over a warmer body of water. The cold air sucks up the moisture and heat dropping into snow when it moves over land. Adding to the misery, the windchill plummeting at times to a frigid 20 degrees below zero, a massive snowstorm on the heels of a nationwide deep freeze.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't last much longer out here.

BROWN: All 50 states recorded temps below freezing on Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really, really freezing and I'm not really prepared for this.

BROWN: In New Jersey, live power lines collapsed onto a transit train after the frigid air caused them to sag. A thousand passengers were delayed for hours. Windchills are so cold the zoo animals were brought inside in Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even if they are used to the outdoors, this temperature's just a little too cold for them.

BROWN: The bone chilling cold closing schools and snarling traffic across the country cancelling thousands of flights and icy roads making driving treacherous and terrifying.


BROWN: And officials are blaming 16 deaths on the weather across the country. So far, officials say no deaths here in Buffalo due to the weather, but take a live look here. This looks like a horizon of ice. This is actually Lake Eerie. It was so cold here it got down to about 2 degrees and it felt like negative 25.

It got so cold, though, that ice covered Lake Eerie and because of that that minimized some of that lake-effect snow. Of course it prevented the moisture from the water going up in the cold air. We're not seeing the snow totals. We thought we were going to see. But Chris and Kate, just to put this in perspective, Buffalo residents, they know how to deal with this winter weather and it has been a ghost town. I think that says a lot. Back to you guys.

BOLDUAN: And when you say they know how to deal with this, how they deal with it is they are smart and they stay inside. That's exactly how you deal with it.

BROWN: That's right. And officials are saying that's a big reason why we haven't seen more injuries and deaths here in Buffalo. Thanks, guys.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Pamela. Now get inside.

So it is by no means balmy, but some states are slowly beginning to thaw out this morning. Let's get over to Indra with a look at how much longer until the temperatures are back to normal, whatever normal is at this point -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: For the first time you're seeing my face and I actually have good news. It is a nice change even though when you look at the map, it doesn't look it. Still talking about temperatures over 30 below in Minnesota, almost 10 degrees below towards New York City, but many of these temperatures are 10, if not 20 degrees warmer, hard to tell, but they are and that is going to be the continuing trend here.

Notice even the southeast still seeing temperatures below freezing this morning. Let's talk about what's expected to change. Here is the current temperatures right now, notice Atlanta 17 degrees right now. Look at that change. It lifts up and brings that cold air back to where we want it to be, into the North Pole. Warm air comes off of the gulf. Notice the change by the weekend, above normal temperatures.

So we're going from well below to well above normal by the weekend. That is what everyone wants to hear. Finally, I'm bringing you that good news. As far as today, still talking about cool temperatures, nonetheless about 10, 20 degrees normal or above normal for most of you again by the weekend.

It's 10 degrees warmer today. Notice by tomorrow, some of you actually are already going to start to be above normal. Towards the weekend, yes, it gets warmer, but it also means rain and snow.

BOLDUAN: I absolutely agree. We were talking about it. As much as we hear you and we listen to you and you say it is cold out there, I walked around yesterday and I kept saying, can you believe how cold it is? I can't believe how cold it is.

PETERSONS: It really is cold.

PEREIRA: First winter here. You're ready now.

PETERSONS: A little hazing I'm going to call it.

CUOMO: She's no joke, though. She has a whole blizzard pack that she has to bring with her.

PETERSONS: I have to fight with long johns in the morning because many are going to go on.

CUOMO: One of the big problems is that it's not just about the temperatures. It's about the impact, right. We have new details this morning on what turned into a killer avalanche in Vail, Colorado, the avalanche claiming the life of 24-year-old extreme skier, Anthony Seibert. He is the grandson of one of Vail's founders. Ana Cabrera is following developments for us from Denver. Good morning, Ana.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Friends say he was a very experienced skier. He loved the outdoors, spent a lot of time in the back country. He was with three of his buddies. They were in an area that's known to be popular for back country skiing and snowboarding because it is so accessible. It's just a short hike we are told from the top of the Vail Mountain ski area while it is out of the ski area boundaries. It's also an area known to be avalanche prone.


CABRERA (voice-over): A scoured mountain side, trees tossed like toys. A giant avalanche leaving behind a deadly path of destruction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been described as a couple hundred yards wide and map up to 10 feet deep running close to a thousand feet vertical.

CABRERA: This is the back country not far from the Vail Ski Resort.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is not on Vail Resort's Mountain. It is for experienced skiers and snow boarders.

CABRERA: The huge slide trapped four people. Rescuers worked quickly to save three, but it was too late for their friend. The victim now identified as 24-year-old Anthony Seibert, the grandson of the ski area's founder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a fabulous skier.

CABRERA: It's now the second avalanche fatality in Colorado in just over a week. This amazing video is from the same area. Another avalanche triggered just days before Christmas. Here, Davis digs out his brother saving his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we've been seeing over the last ten days or so is just a general increase of the size of the avalanches.

CABRERA (on camera): Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we have very weak snow near the ground that formed early in the season. So the slab over it is starting to get thicker and larger.

CABRERA (voice-over): And it's happening all across the rocky mountain region. Three snowmobilers triggered an avalanche in Montana last week. One of them was buried and killed. And trails were closed at this Utah resort when avalanche temporarily buried several skiers, all of them survived. Experts urge anyone heading to the back country to be prepared for the power of Mother Nature.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CABRERA: Now, That's a website to remember. There you can find the latest avalanche information anywhere in the country, also a shovel, a beacon and a probe. These are the crucial items you have to have experts say if you're heading into the back country especially right now -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Ana, any experienced skier knows there's always a risk. But still, when you see that video and you see it happen, it is terrifying nonetheless. Thank you so much for that.

Going to turn now to new developments this morning from Washington, still buzzing over a new memoir by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, excerpts were just released. In the book, Gates offers a stinging critique of President Obama saying the president doubted his own mission in Afghanistan and has distrust in his senior military officials in charge. Gates even dig that Vice President Joe Biden and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Let's get more on all of this from senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, live from the north lawn this morning. Hi, there, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. It's become an old Washington cliche, work in government, then write a juicy memoir, filled with back fighting and in fighting and then cash in. What is surprising though is this latest kiss and tell came from the seemingly mild mannered former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates.


ACOSTA (voice-over): At his fair well ceremony in 2011 after serving nearly every president since Richard Nixon, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates left the Pentagon hinting he had issues with Washington.

ROBERT GATES, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I spent a good deal of time venting frustrations with the Pentagon bureaucracy.

ACOSTA: As it turns out that wasn't the half of it. In his new memoir, "Duty" hitting bookshelves next week, Gates launches a blistering attack on President Obama. His White House was by far the most centralized and controlling a national security of any I had seen since Richard Nixon, Gates writes in one excerpt.

On Afghanistan, he says the president doesn't believe in his own strategy, doesn't consider the war to be his. For him, it's all about getting out. Goes onto say, suspicion and distrust of military officers by senior White House officials including the president and vice president became a big problem for me.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think people -- his words will have a significant impact. And frankly, I'm a little surprised because a lot of times people are not quite as candid as it appears that his book is.

GATES: How's this for can candid? On Biden, Gates writes, "I think he's been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." On former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Gates said, "Hillary told the president that her opposition to the 2007 surge in Iraq had been political."

Considering Gate's place in history sitting in the White House situation room with Mr. Obama, Biden, and Clinton during the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the memoir seen by some critics as an act of betrayal. That's despite Gates assessment that the Bin Laden mission was one of the most courageous decisions I'd ever witness in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You -- all your loyalty to that man or woman in the -- in the White House and if you can't handle it you leave and you're quiet. But Gates wanted to have it both ways.

ACOTA: Back at the farewell ceremony in 2011, the president praised Gates as an example of service to country.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The integrity of Bob Gates is also a reminder especially to folks here in Washington that civility and respectful discourse and citizenship over partisanship are not quaint relics of a bygone era.


ACOSTA: Now according to the excerpts from Gates book, Gates also offers praise for the president, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It's clear that the White House feels stunned by this memoir. Late last night, the White House released a statement saying that the president disagrees with Gates' assessment to Vice President Biden saying that Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time. You can expect to hear more from Obama loyalists in the coming day as one told me, stay tuned -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: And stay tuned right here on NEW DAY too. We'll discuss this more coming up. Jim Acosta, thanks so much.

Taking a look now at more of your headlines beginning with breaking news, a water main has erupted in Georgia. Look at this. This is live. Thousands of gallons of water currently shooting right into the air nearby, apparently crews dug a hole exposing the pipe overnight. It burst early this morning covering everything around it in ice. We'll keep you updated on this as the story develops.

New development on a story that we have been following, Sheshan Cassim, the American locked up in the United Arab Emirates over spoof, a video spoofing, Dubai teen, well, he could be back in the U.S. as early as tomorrow. A family spokeswoman telling CNN that he will be released this week. He's been locked up in the UAE for about nine months now.

The NSA controversy will dominate President Obama's schedule over the next two days. Today, he will meet behind closed doors with intelligence officials and members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Tomorrow, he'll hold talks with congressional leaders. The president plans to announce his review of NSA practices before his "State of the Union" address at the end of the month. We are following a deadly accident in the United Kingdom that killed four American Air Force personnel. A military helicopter crashed last night near Clay on the eastern coast of England. It went down while it was flying low on a nighttime training mission. That chopper was a pave hawk, a modified black hawk that typically carries two pilots, a flight engineer, and a gunner. Nobody on board survived.

And how about this, free at last, that Russian research vessel has finally broken through heavy, heavy sea ice in Antarctica after being trapped for the past two weeks. Just hours earlier, the Chinese ice breaker, Snow Dragon, which tried to rescue this Russian ship had become trapped itself. It also broke free. Officials say a shift in winds took pressure off the ice allowing both ships to push away from the ice and carry on their way, quite a voyage. They have some stories to tell.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Whiteout. A massive snowstorm dumping as much as two feet in parts. Stranded drivers rescued by snowmobiles. And then, the cold. Watch as this driver skids off an icy bridge. So, when does this toll (ph) begin?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Game on. Dennis Rodman and his team of Americans playing in their big game in North Korea this morning just a day after his fiery interview here on NEW DAY. We are tracking the fallout from Washington to Pyongyang.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Target hero. She's the employee who spotted something amiss. With her quick action, she was able to save this kidnapped seven-year-old girl. Now this, the kidnapper is speaking out from jail.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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



PEREIRA: -- has finally broken through heavy, heavy sea ice in Antarctica after being trapped for the past two weeks. Just hours earlier, the Chinese ice breaker Snow Dragon which tried to rescue the stuck Russian ship had become trapped itself. It also broke free.

Officials say a shift in winds took pressure off the ice, allowing both ships to push away from the ice and carry on their way. Quite a voyage. You know that they have some stories to tell.

BOLDUAN: And that has changed day by day, ship after ship.


CUOMO: For them, not enough. You know what I mean?

All right. Let's take a little break here. Coming up on NEW DAY, the White House, the NBA, all of you share this -- reactions, strong ones to our interview with Rodman. What everyone is saying this morning about the Rodman rant and what may happen next.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, JetBlue under fire after scrubbing more than 1,800 flights. They're trying to compensate passengers, but is the damage already done?


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Reaction has been strong and swift and often severe to the interview heard round the world with Dennis Rodman. Late night comedians, the White House, more importantly, the NBA, millions of you on social media, making your voices heard over Rodman's defense of today's basketball game to celebrate the birthday of dictator Kim Jong-un. But no doubt, the most important reaction came from the sister of Kenneth Bae, to remind you, the American still being held without real explanation in North Korea.

Rodman, insinuated that Bae may somehow be responsible for his predicament. Now, we're going to talk with Mr. Bae's sister later this morning.

But for now, let's get to Chris Lawrence to talk about this reaction to the interview.

It took me by surprise, Chris, and I did the interview.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, I mean, the things that Dennis Rodman said to you yesterday are still rippling through Washington even this morning. But, really, it was Kenneth Bae's sister who really put all of this in when she told CNN this isn't a game.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): Even for a man built to shock and surprise, Dennis Rodman has one-upped himself.

DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: We have to go back to America and take the abuse. Do you have to take the abuse that we going to take? Do you, sir? Let me know.

LAWRENCE: His eruption on CNN's NEW DAY is sparking widespread reaction.

RODMAN: (INAUDIBLE) (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think. I'm saying to you, look at these guys here. Look at them.

LAWRENCE: Rodman drew disdain from the White House and was disavowed by U.S. diplomats. JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: Mr. Rodman is not there representing the United States. People should remember that when they look at his comments and hear his comments.

LAWRENCE: Rodman has been under fire since he announced plans to celebrate Kim Jong-un's birthday with a basketball game in North Korea.

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D), NEW YORK: It will be analogous to having a key or lunch with Adolf Hitler.

LAWRENCE: But some say he crossed the line with an accusation against Kenneth Bae, an American sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp.

Rodman replied to Chris Cuomo that Bae deserved his face.

RODMAN: Do you understand what Kenneth Bae did?


RODMAN: Do you understand what he did in this country.

CUOMO: What did he do? You tell me. You tell me, what did 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 reasons.


ENGEL: It's outrageous. It's ridiculous. It's shameful. Those are three good words and those will describe accusing Mr. Bae of a crime.

LAWRENCE: Bae's sister told CNN's Anderson Cooper Rodman's words are hurting his cause.

TERRI CHUNG, KENNETH BAE'S SISTER: It's really heartbreaking that somebody who was in a position to help the fellow the Americans, he seems to do so, and then continue to do more harm than good.

LAWRENCE: As for the other former players traveling with Rodman --

DAVID STERN, NBA COMMISSIONER: They were blinded by the payday.

LAWRENCE: NBA commissioner questioned the motives of everyone involved.

STERN: What I would guess is a relatively large sum of money. They have agreed to go and give a birthday present to the leader.


LAWRENCE: Rodman's trip is being bankrolled by Patty Power. It's a betting firm. It cut ties with Rodman's group last month, by it's still fulfilling its contractual obligations to pay for this trip.

Now, we're told that foreigners who are on the short tour of North Korea and get to see this game are paying about $9,000 for this tour. That's about four times the going rate -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Chris, thanks for wrapping that all up for us. Appreciate it.

And be sure to stay with us on the show because you heard a little bit from Terri Chung. Kenneth Bae's sister there. She's going to join us in the 8:00 hour to talk more about not just Dennis Rodman, but what the situation with her brother is. They say he confessed. She'll clarify what they understand and what Rodman may have done to affect the process of getting this man out of jail. That's coming up later this morning.

BOLDUAN: All right. Let's turn now to it's money time. Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here with much more on that.

So, what are you looking at this morning?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I'm watching the stock market this morning because we finally did have a day yesterday when they snap a losing streak -- a three-day losing streak. The S&P with its first winning performance of 2014 and for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, they were up about a hundred points, more than a hundred points, so it was a descent day yesterday.

The big news today: we'll be looking for is on jobs. We're going to get an employment report on a private sector on jobs. That's coming in less than two hours.

This is a number that can be a preview for the government jobs report. That's coming out Friday. It's expected to show the jobless rate to about 7 percent.

And all of this jobs data coming out we're talking about extending these emergency unemployment benefits to 1.3 million American who lost them over the weekend. So talking about pushing more jobless benefits at the same time, the job market, it looks like it's getting a little bit better.

And say it ain't so. I mean, this is the money story all of you are talking about this morning. Some stores are running low on Velveeta.

CUOMO: What?


ROMANS: The cheesy favorite of sports fans and moms like me, who may be stocking up for the Super Bowl. Kraft Foods said it's not sure why Velveeta is so hard to find right now, but it comes on the heels of a string of college bowl games. Liquid gold remains half a billion dollar business for Kraft. They say it will be temporary.

You know, they had strong demand over the holidays for all those cheesy casseroles and --


BOLDUAN: I'll tell you. I love a crock-pot meal. I'm from the Midwest.

CUOMO: Slow cooking.

BOLDUAN: Slow cooking. I have a great Velveeta, crock pot, cheese chip dip that will now not be able to be shared.

CUOMO: Velveeta, not a standalone cheese.

BOLDUAN: What do you mean?

CUOMO: You don't just eat it.

BOLDUAN: You do if you're bold.

ROMANS: Either with a fine water cracker and a little bit of caviar, don't you?


CUOMO: Not a standalone cheese. I like the Velveeta, don't get me wrong. When you cut off a hunk of that --

BOLDUAN: I need a glass of water.

ROMANS: Like German cockroaches, it could survive a nuclear holocaust, couldn't it?


CUOMO: What do you think? Velveeta, standalone cheese? Tweet us.

BOLDUAN: Yes is the only answer you should offer. Thanks, Christine.

Oh, that's a tough one.

CUOMO: Big fan, big fan.

BOLDUAN: All right. We're going to take a break here on NEW DAY coming up next. A kidnapped 7-year-old California girl back in the arms of her family this morning. How police say an employee at a Target store helped lead them straight to her alleged abductor.

CUOMO: And JetBlue back in the air after canceling close to 2,000 flights. It did take a little bit of a PR beating kind of a media darling until now. The question is, can they regain the confidence of their customers?


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Let's bring you up to date on the very latest news happening right now.

Western New York state is getting battered by a barrage of lake-effect snow. Whiteout conditions and thunder snow forcing NHL Sabres to cancel home game for the first time in 13 years.

We're learning more about a deadly avalanche in Colorado's back country near Vail. Twenty-four-year-old Anthony Seibert was killed. Authorities say he was trapped in the snow with three other people. They managed to survive. Seibert is the grandson of the man who co- founded the Vail ski resort.