CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY SUNDAY

Gunman, 2 Others Killed In Mall Shooting; Blizzard Warning for Parts of the Midwest

Aired January 26, 2014 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He shot her. Then, 10, 15 -- maybe not even 10 -- seconds later, I heard the second gunshot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A man starts shooting in a mall in Maryland, kills two people. Now we know the names of the victims. And new details about what the shooter was carrying.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And guess what? Another Royal Caribbean cruise is plagued this morning by illness. More than 300 people are sick and now the CDC is investigating.

BLACKWELL: On Tuesday, President Obama reports on the State of the Union and lays out his agenda for 2014.

But critics say his sense of possibility has faded. Douglas Brinkley joins us live.

Your NEW DAY starts now.

PAUL: It is Sunday, meaning I hope you have a little bit of a day to take a breather and just get yourself geared up for the week. I'm Christi Paul. Glad to have you here.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, 6:00 -- actually, 8:00 now on this Sunday.

First up, we've got new information about the shooting in Maryland coming in.

PAUL: Yes, in fact, in just over an hour, police plan to hold a news conference on that deadly mall shooting in suburban Baltimore yesterday. He killed two skate shop employees and then himself. These are the two victims.

CNN's Erin McPike is live outside the mall in Columbia, Maryland.

Erin, we're looking forward to this news conference coming up in about 90 minutes. What have we learned overnight?

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Christi, there were five people injured here yesterday. One of a gunshot wound, the other from chaos from the scene. Now, all five of those people were treated and released from the hospital yesterday.

Overnight, police did identify the shooter but they're not yet releasing his name to the public.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sitting there, food was knocked over. Everyone just started running, kids were running. You just ran and you just run to the nearest place you could find.

MCPIKE (voice-over): Chaos at Columbia mall in Maryland as a gunman opens fire killing two workers inside a second story sports apparel shop called Zumiez, then killing himself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought I heard something fall. It sounded like bricks. All of a sudden, I saw people fall, three people that were shot fall. So, everybody ducked to the ground. I heard more than 10 shots.

MCPIKE: Police identify the dead employees as 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo and 25-year-old Tyler Johnson. Police say the gunman was carrying a large amount of ammunition and apparent makeshift explosives. A robot was used to examine the crime scene and the mall is still closed this morning.

The motive at this point is unclear.

CHIEF BILL MCMAHON, HOWARD COUNTY, MARYLAND POLICE: We do not know yet what caused the shooting incident. So, any attribution this being domestic related or something else is purely speculation.

MCPIKE: CNN affiliate WJZ talked to one man who came face-to- face with the gunman. Twenty-seven-year-old Chris did not want to be identified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He shot her and then, you know, 10, 15, maybe not even 10 seconds later, I heard the second gunshot. I basically just like scrambled out of the store on my hands and knees right by the male employee who was down on the ground, still alive.

MCPIKE: Chris says he's haunted by the fact that he was the last person to talk to Tyler Johnson before he died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He asked me if it was still bad outside. I told him it really wasn't snowing yet, but it's going to be cold all week. And he told me, yes, he's from Mt. Airy. I was the last person he talked to before he died.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCPIKE: Now police also found the shooter had been carrying a bag he had left at the scene. It apparently had two crude devices that were apparently an attempt to make explosives using fireworks. Police were able to disable those but we hope to learn more about what that all means and what all he had at that news conference at 9:30 -- Chris and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Coming up 90 minutes from now. Erin McPike live in Columbia, Maryland -- thank you.

PAUL: Yes. We want to bring in HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks into the fray here because you had mentioned that you were listening to what was happening there with some of your own devices, I'm assuming. I'm not going to ask what those are because he is Mike Brooks.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: But you were impressed with the response time here.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I was very impressed. The call went out right around 11:15 to 911. You heard the Chief McMahon yesterday from Howard County said that there were some officers who were there, first right within minutes. And then, there were some SWAT officers who were working on another assignment happened to be there also.

But I'll tell you -- the coordinated response in the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area is amazing. You know, I was a cop in D.C. for 26 years. And I can tell you -- the response here, within a short amount of time, you had Howard County, Maryland State Police. Then right after that, you had Anne Arundel police, Baltimore County police, Prince Georges, Montgomery County, U.S. Marshals, ATF and FBI.

And I was listening to the audio while they were clearing it and it was an extremely coordinated response, and they would go from store to store, they were leaving JCPenney, head to Lord & Taylor, and each team was able to say exactly where the other team was. As a former SWAT operator, I can tell you, it was done the right way.

And also, the EMS response. I was listening that units were clearing from the hospital, going back to staging. You had all -- a number of different counties that were also involved in that. So, you know, on police, fire, EMS, unbelievable response and command and control, outstanding.

BLACKWELL: Before even the law enforcement, EMS show up, mall employees and mall management.

BROOKS: Yes. Absolutely. In fact, one of the person we had on by phone yesterday, I was on the same line, she was saying, oh, SWAT's here. She said, I want to tell you, they train us here at the mall if something happens, go inside a store, lock the door, put your phone on silent and wait for police to come.

That's exactly what a lot of the employees did. That's why it did take quite some time for the tactical teams to clear that mall because you had people that had sheltered in place and had done the right thing.

PAUL: So, is that what -- if I'm at the mall shopping with my kids, some people think, am I supposed to run outside? What if there's somebody out there waiting for us. Or am I supposed to go hide in the mall. What do you -- how do you advise us?

BROOKS: I would suggest if you hear shots anywhere you are -- sporting event -- if they're nearby and you're inside a store, lock yourself inside that store and I'm sure the people who work there will do the same thing, will tell you to do that. But if you're out in the mall area and you hear shots away from you, go in the opposite direction.

And again, I talked a couple hours ago about situational awareness, where you are going through, look at the exits where you are just in case something happens. Like you don't want to go around totally paranoid and I don't suggest that. It's just -- be aware of your surroundings.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: And the concern is, you listen to some of the people I remember listening to a mall up in New York, airport, the TSA employee was shot. You wonder these people are in fitting rooms, they're sitting in places where they have no idea what's going on and the advice is just stay there until someone comes to get you?

BROOKS: Yes, absolutely. If you have a police officer in plain clothes, usually they'll have a badge around their neck. If you're not sure, ask them for an ID. They have an ID and they'll show it to you because we were running into some people of the mall yesterday where some of the plain clothes officers were first responders, they weren't sure -- are you really the police? Ask them and they'll show you their ID.

PAUL: All right. And they respect that.

Mike Brooks, thank you so much.

BROOKS: Absolutely. It's been great being with you this morning.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Mike.

PAUL: You are so awesome. Thanks for being here.

BROOKS: Thanks, Christi.

BLACKWELL: And new this morning, let's go to Pennsylvania, where a Russian teen has been charged with possessing a weapon of mass destruction. We've got the mugshot up.

Investigators say they found a homemade bomb while investigating a marijuana grow operation. The suspect reportedly told police he purchased the bomb making materials over the Internet and it happened that purchase some time over the past two weeks.

PAUL: Good heavens. Well, I know for you sitting at home looking out the window, and that may be one of your biggest concerns today is the temperature, for one thing, and the snow. A lot of people on Facebook -- he laughs at me about this -- Mike, come on! Help me out here!

People are posting pictures of the blizzard of '78. Come on, people, which is worse? He's like '78 I was like 2.

BLACKWELL: I'm just saying --

PAUL: Weren't you then born?

BLACKWELL: Listen, I'm 32. My parents hadn't met yet in '78.

PAUL: Dang, am I old! Mike, help me out. Do you remember the blizzard of '78?

BROOKS: I was working in the blizzard.

PAUL: OK, thank you.

BROOKS: I was a cop working in the blizzard, had to get in to work. I do remember it vividly because I'm 58.

PAUL: I was in elementary school but I was there with you!

Karen Maginnis.

BLACKWELL: They also say it as if there hasn't been a blizzard since '78.

PAUL: It must have been a big one because people on Facebook are posting the pictures. It's all I'm saying.

BLACKWELL: Let's just go to Karen. We've got this blizzard warning in effect for a couple of states.

What's going on, Karen?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. We have the most ferocious cold weather that is now going to be making its way into the Deep South and a developing storm system but brutally cold air in a winter where we've seen these arctic events, one right after the other.

But now it looks like the jet stream is going to dip even further to the South. So sections of the Carolinas and the Deep South, yes. From mobile, Alabama to Charleston, South Carolina, ice, snow, a wintry mix. That's in the forecast as we look into the next 72 hours.

In the meantime, Minneapolis, a high temperature today of 15. For example, for Chicago, you're looking at the frontal system is sweeping through. Temperatures should be in the 20s, but over the next several days, those temperatures are dipping way below zero. Way below normal for this time of year. For Atlanta, temperatures for this afternoon in the 50s. But by Tuesday, they're expected only to be around 35 degrees. We do have blizzard conditions. That's because a frontal system is sweeping through.

As it does, we've got very strong winds behind it. Wind gusts possibly as high as 60 miles an hour. So the windchill factor is going to make it feel dangerously cold.

If you're wondering what happens along that i-95 corridor, New York and Boston, Washington, D.C., you're due for some viciously cold weather by Tuesday as well. Back to you guys.

BLACKWELL: I don't know the blizzard of '78 but that blizzard of 2003? Treacherous. '03? It was terrible.

PAUL: All right.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Karen.

MAGINNIS: Take care.

PAUL: So if you can get out and you want to go to Michaels, say, well, you're probably OK to go to Michaels, but if you have gone in the past, they're releasing some information that may perk your ears. The craft chain may have been the victim of hackers. The company hasn't confirmed that breach yet, however, it does say it's learned of, quote, "possible fraudulent activity" on some of its customers' payment cards. They want to make sure we are all alerted.

BLACKWELL: Also, starting today, it will cost you 49 cents to mail a first class letter.

PAUL: Ouch.

BLACKWELL: Three-cent jump, biggest increase in more than a decade. This comes as fewer Americans are using snail mail to pay the bills, keep in touch. I still write checks.

One way around the hike -- the forever stamps. Buy them at the current rate -- hopefully you purchased some yesterday and they will be valid forever, even if the price goes up.

PAUL: It costs a lot of money to plan your dream vacation. For some people, that's a cruise. But it this one is turning into a nightmare for a lot of folks because we're talking people aboard a ship in the Caribbean are sick. How do you protect yourself from this when you're cruising? We'll talk to a medical expert.

PAUL: And it's been almost 50 years since the British invasion. We'll talk with Brenda Lee about Beatle-mania, topping Billboard chart before the Fab Four even crossed the pond.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Look at this. It was supposed to be a dream cruise from the freezing East Coast to the warm waters of the Caribbean.

BLACKWELL: But it's not turning out that way. More than 300 passenger and crew members aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, The Explorer of the Seas, have fallen sick. Well, today, a CDC health officer and epidemiologist will board the ship to investigate.

PAUL: Remember, this comes just, gosh, a week after more than 60 people came down with the norovirus on another Royal Caribbean cruise. We know that the ship is now docked in St. Thomas, of course, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It left New Jersey Tuesday, skipped a stop in Haiti and went to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to be sanitized yesterday.

BLACKWELL: And again, this is the second Royal Caribbean crew ship to get hit with this gastro intestinal outbreak this month. About 66 people fell ill on The Majesty of the Seas, as Christi said, just a few days ago.

PAUL: Yes.

Dr. William Schaffner is the chairman of the department of preventative medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine -- joining us on the phone now from Nashville.

Thank you so much for being with us, Doctor. When you're in a position are where hundreds are sick on this cruise ship which obviously is confined, I mean -- a lot of people are wondering what makes ships so susceptible to outbreaks like this?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE (via telephone): Christi, what happens is that some passengers may actually bring the virus, if that's what the cause is, on to the ship, and then because people are so confined and they have such close contact with each other, the virus can spread very, very readily.

BLACKWELL: I equate this in some small ways to flying. I'm always a little leery when you get on a plane, especially during the flu season, all the coughing, all breathing the same air. But this goes on for a week.

How does someone protect him or herself when they board this cruise? I think some emergency before flight, but seven days. You've got to do more than that, right?

SCHAFFNER: Well, for sure. The important thing, Victor, is hand washing, hand washing, hand washing, and avoiding other people who are sick. And that's the key.

PAUL: OK. Hand washing. They say it. But now, we know.

The CDC I know is going to -- they're planning to get onboard here and inspect the vessel today. What do you think they're looking for primarily?

SCHAFFNER: Well, they'll do two things. One, they'll help the people on the cruise ship find all these sick people and manage them appropriately so they get good medical care. And then they will perform an investigation to, number one, find out, pin down the actual cause, and make sure it is not another kind of gastrointestinal illness that might have been spread by the food, for example.

BLACKWELL: Is there anything when I'm boarding a cruise ship that is a telltale sign to know immediately something's wrong here, I need to alert someone?

SCHAFFNER: Well, I think the first alert is when people start to report being sick because, otherwise, obviously the facility itself looks very good. I have good information that this company has a good outbreak prevention and control plan and they disinfect the place so very, very carefully routinely in order to prevent these sorts of things.

PAUL: So because of that, why do you think we're seeing outbreaks like this on cruise ships?

SCHAFFNER: Because this is a very common virus in the winter and on the first day or so that you're infected you still are not very sick so you decide to go on this cruise anyway and then you're the source that is one of the passengers or more of the passengers are the source of this virus. The others, when all the passengers are so very closely confined.

PAUL: You mentioned the season and how close people are on this ship, thousands of people at a time. Would you advise people not to take cruises during flu season during the height of the season especially?

SCHAFFNER: Oh, goodness, no. Because thousands of people do enjoy them he selves taking these cruises, and many cruises occur, of course, without incident. So, this happens occasionally and everyone's working to prevent it.

PAUL: All right. Dr. William Schaffner, thanks for giving us such good information today. We appreciate it.

SCHAFFNER: OK, Christi. Stay healthy.

PAUL: You, too. Thank you.

And still to come on NEW DAY, Times Square is getting transformed for the Super Bowl. Yes, Times Square. Big game is eight miles away though in New Jersey. What's up with that?

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.S. committee has decided to put together a B squad of less talented but undeniably heterosexual figure skaters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On ice now is our first competitor, T.J. Davenport. T.J. looking confident, wearing a very comfortable jets jersey and cargo pants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's see if he's Olympic caliber.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, wow, starting air guitar right off the top. Lot of attitude there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thumbs up to his buddies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: T.J.'s getting ready for his first jump. Is it the triple axle (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He nails it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's feeling good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: I've us a wanted to learn how to ice skate. Do you?

PAUL: No, I have no idea. My husband is a hockey player, so he could show me a thing or two. I just don't let him do it.

Countdown begins as we are just one week away from the Super Bowl.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And this year the big game is in East Rutherford, New Jersey, at MetLife Stadium. You would not know that by just taking a walk around town.

PAUL: CNN's Alexandra Field tells us why that is.

Good morning, Alexandra.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, the Super Bowl's host cities says it is become overshadowed by nearby New York city. Officials said they thought they'd get a chance to promote East Rutherford, New Jersey, but they say no one is giving them the opportunity.

(voice-over): Amid all the excitement, there is a little confusion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Super Bowl XLVIII in New York. Congratulations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can only send one of you to cover the game in New York.

FIELD: This is MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the host of Super Bowl XLVIII. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell them they need a geography lesson.

FIELD (on camera): Did you think this would put you on the man?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, absolutely.

FIELD (voice-over): It's is a small town. Just 8,000 people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The stadium is right down here, less than a mile away.

FIELD: A detail that looks to some as if it's been overlook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just talking to a radio host in Seattle and he didn't even realize that the stadium was in New Jersey until a couple of weeks ago. That says something.

FIELD: In New York City, the NFL is transforming times square into Super Bowl Boulevard. But in East Rutherford, there isn't a single banner in sight. Only one small sign that the mayor had to order himself.

And because it uses the trademark phrase "Super Bowl," the NFL could object.

(on camera): What happens if you're told to take it down?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think it would be pretty dopey of them to tell us to take it down.

FIELD: You feel like you're left out in the cold here at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm used to it. You know?

FIELD: That sounds like a little New York, New Jersey --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, you accept it, life goes no.

. >> you're kind of used to it. You know, you accept it. Life goes on.

FIELD: Hey, is there a little New York-New Jersey rivalry playing in here? How would you answer that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, my PR answer is I'm sure glad I'm next to the biggest city in the world because that's how I make my living. But my New Jersey answer is I'd like to kick them in the shins.

FIELD (voice-over): Town officials say there's been no effort to promote East Rutherford, but the NFL insists that New Jersey isn't getting the short straw, telling CNN there are more activities in New Jersey than New York. Players are staying in Jersey City, training and media appearances will be held in state. Come game day, the mayor says his town will be proud even if East Rutherford has taken a back seat even though the mayor will have to find his own seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll probably be sitting in my lounge chair on my recliner watching the game.

FIELD (on camera): People in East Rutherford still look forward to celebrating the big day. They have plans for a block party in the middle of town and, of course, it will be complete with some New Jersey cover bands -- Christi, Victor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: All righty, Alexandra Field, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Two race car drivers are recovering this morning after a really bad crash in Daytona. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, and a problem -- oh!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my gosh!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no! That was a very hard impact there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Officials say that Memo Gidley and Mateo Malucelli are awake and responsive this morning. It is still unclear what kind of injuries both men suffered. You look at that crash and you know there are some serious injuries.

PAUL: Yes, the accident happened less than three hours into the race. The cars, as you saw, collided, just as Gidley was racing down a high speed portion of that track. So, drivers apparently had complained earlier in the day about not being able to see because of the sun. We'll see if perhaps that was indeed part of the problem here.

And, boy, what a dramatic end to the Australian Open in a four- set stunner. Stanislas Wawrinka beat tennis star Rafael Nadal to win his first grand slam title. Wawrinka has turned out to be kind of surprise package in this tournament. Nadal who endured back pain during the game apologized to fans after being defeated.

PAUL: President Obama's sixth State of the Union is coming up Tuesday. But with scandal-plagued second term and low approval ratings, how does the president plan to get anything done?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: So glad to see you on this SUNDAY. It is half past the hour. Just in case you're trying to get your bearings this morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: And if have you somewhere to be this morning. I'm Victor Blackwell.

Let's start this half with five things you need to know for your NEW DAY. PAUL: Yes and we will start number one with police saying that the gunman who killed two people then himself at a mall in Columbia, Maryland was carrying crude explosives made from fireworks and was heavily armed. Now police haven't identified the shooter yet but a 21-year-old woman and 25-year-old man who were both employees at a skate shop there were killed.

Number two hundreds of people came out to say good-bye to an autistic teen whose remains were found in the East River last week. The funeral for Avonte Oquendo was held yesterday in New York; now Oquendo as missing while he was at school. He actually disappeared from that school back in October. His family has challenged a refusal by the New York City Police Department to hand over files that are related to his case.

BLACKWELL: Number three, federal health officials want to know what is making hundreds of people aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship sick. Today a CDC health officer and an epidemiologist will board "The Explorer of the Seas" to investigate. Now the ship docked at the U.S. Virgin Islands after leaving New Jersey on Tuesday. Now this is the second gastrointestinal outbreak on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship this month.

Number four, the Grammy Awards they are tonight. And you're in for an amazing concert. Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Daft Punk, Macklemore and Ryan Louis, Jay-Z, Beyonce and there's more. And of course, we'll just have to see who walks away with the big prizes but I think more people are interested in those performances.

PAUL: Number five, after eight months overseas, Lieutenant Colonel Cotina Jenkins-Seller wanted her homecoming to be memorable. So look at this she snuck up on her son Derek at the free-throw at his middle school basketball game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. COL. COTINA JENKINS-SELLER: Oh that's all right there.

I missed you. Give me a real hug.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Isn't that awesome? Just something to make you smile this morning.

BLACKWELL: Oh perfect.

PAUL: Cotina said she was worried that Derek might cry right there in the gym in front of his friends and, you know, girls. In the end though, obviously everybody was so excited about it. Everybody was cheering in the stands.

BLACKWELL: That's all right.

PAUL: We want to say welcome home and thank you for your service. BLACKWELL: Go ahead and cry.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: All right over at the White House, President Obama will likely be spending a lot of this day fine tuning and tweaking what actually may be the biggest speech of the year, his fifth state of the union address.

PAUL: It happens on Tuesday. And we are already getting some details about it. A White House senior advisor says that the President's going to push for a year of action on jobs and the economy and it's also a chance for him to reboot his second term here. So we want to get more on that from CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser. Good morning -- Paul.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Good morning, Christi, Victor. It's traditionally the biggest speech a president gives each year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have cleared away the rubble of crisis. And we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.

STEINHAUSER: And as President Obama gets ready to give a prime time address in front of Congress and the nation, when it comes to his poll numbers there's not so much to brag about.

OBAMA: That I will fatefully execute --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The office of the President of the United States.

STEINHAUSER: At his second inaugural a year ago soon after his reelection victory, Mr. Obama's approval ratings stood mostly in the low to mid 50s. But after the NSA and IRS controversies and the deeply flawed rollout of the health care law, the President's numbers tumbled.

According to a new CNN Poll of Polls, which averages the most recent national surveys, Mr. Obama's approval rating stands at 43 percent with 50 percent giving his performance a thumbs down. The President's approval rating has slightly rebounded from late last year when it was at or near all-time lows in many surveys. He said last year that he doesn't obsess over polls.

OBAMA: I mean if I was interested in polling I wouldn't have run for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEINHAUSER: So how does Mr. Obama compare to his most immediate two-term predecessors in the White House as they started the sixth year of their presidencies? George W. Bush's numbers were also underwater. But Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan's numbers were sitting pretty. Why do we spend so much time talking about these numbers? Because the approval rating remains one of the best indicators of a president's standing with the public and clout right here in Washington -- Christi, Victor.

PAUL: All right Paul Steinhauser, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right joining us now to talk more about Tuesday's state of the union address, historian Douglas Brinkley from Rice University. It's good to have you with us.

First, let's just talk about this year of action, this plan we're expecting to hear from the President and how the President will be able to bring these plans to fruition and make something actually happen considering the 2013 promises and the agenda, especially gun control went nowhere.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, RICE UNIVERSITY: Well that's exactly right. I mean in '13 he came out of the gate very big on gun control. He was very moved by the Newtown massacre. Thought he was going to be able to win that historic legislation. It went nowhere in the end.

And then of course come in the fall, the rollout of Obamacare, disastrous. You're starting to see traction in '14 on Obamacare, meaning more and more people joining it so I'm sure that's a big part of the President's action of 2014 is make sure his signature program gains momentum.

But I think he's got to adopt the minimum wage in '14 as part of his year's action because it's tangible and affects people. If you're making, you know, $7.25 or something today, to raise it to $10.10, that's something that gets to a lot of Democratic voters and keep in mind, that at all cost, '14 is about the election year. He's only going to be able to do so much before it is just pure politics kicking in.

PAUL: You mention that he's going to -- he will mention Obamacare. There was good news this week that the numbers are higher in the first three weeks of the year in terms of enrollment. I think it was 900,000.

BLACKWELL: Yes 900,000.

PAUL: I saw but what is he going to say about it? Is that something he really -- you think he really wants to bring up, being that it seem like such a debacle for the first three, four months?

BRINKLEY: That's a great question. And that's the most -- the thing I'm most interested in besides seeing who claps and who doesn't clap and all of the fun atmospherics of these. But will he grab hold of Obamacare and run with it in his '14 year of action and say I'm running another campaign to get more and more people enrolled? Or is he going to low-simmer it, not talk about it, simply let people sign up and push something hard like immigration reform that he might be able to do a deal with the Republicans in February and March. It will be interesting to see. BLACKWELL: You know I'm going to ask you to put on your historian hat. We're talking about the future, but I want you to look back and give us an idea of another president after a pretty turbulent few months after some defeats, you talked about the Obamacare fumble, gun control and all of the things that the President's put through or tried to pass through a divided government -- someone who has gotten it right and used this speech to turn it around.

BRINKLEY: Well there's no question it's Bill Clinton in recent memory. I mean Clinton was just getting hammered over the Lewinsky affair. He went to the state of the union basically asked for forgiveness and started doing his famous triangulation with Republicans and built quite a legislative record to the point by the end of his second term there was a surplus, not a deficit. And Clinton kind of started rebuilding himself.

This President I think still has the trust of a lot of people but when you go down from 52 percent last year, now you're down at 42 percent or 43 percent, that's not good. But what's worse is that there is a kind of a yawn about this state of the union. It is like a, oh, gosh, let's channel surf it off. We've heard what President Obama has to say a lot.

In many ways he is a very overexposed president because of all the new media. So how do you get people excited about the message you are trying to sell? And last year he had two chances. The second inaugural and the state of the union, this year it's just the state of the union and then it's politics as usual in Washington so he's to get some momentum out of this speech. I would go with the minimum wage.

BLACKWELL: All right we do expect the President to talk more about income inequality Tuesday night and moving forward in the next coming weeks and months. Douglas Brinkley from Rice University -- thank you.

BRINKLEY: Thank you, as always.

PAUL: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And CNN will bring you President Obama's state of the union address live. So tune in Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern; full commentary, analysis and of course the President's speech right here on CNN.

PAUL: Still to come for you -- two days after a judge said that she should be removed from breathing machines -- there is this brain dead woman in Texas who is still on them.

BLACKWELL: Yes now her family is left waiting to see what the next step will be.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Well, more excruciating waiting today for a grieving family in Texas because it's been two days now since a judge had ordered a brain-dead pregnant woman be removed from breathing machines. And that's what we know her family wanted.

But this morning Marlise Munoz is still on those ventilators.

BLACKWELL: Now attorneys for the hospital and her family now agreed that Munoz is brain dead and her fetus is not viable but the hospital could still appeal under a state law that forbids removing life sustaining treatment from a pregnant patient.

PAUL: Nick Valencia is outside the hospital in Ft. Worth. Nick, good morning to you.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi good morning, Christi and Victor. At this point it is wait and see for the family of Marlise Munoz after a judge ruled on Friday at the hospital here behind me have until 5:00 p.m. Monday to decide whether or not they will abide by the judge's decision to take Marlise Munoz off a ventilator or if they will appeal.

Now the hospital has maintained all along that they were simply abiding by a state law and that they did nothing wrong in their interpretation of the law. An SMU professor who co-wrote the law says that the hospital got it all wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PROF. TOM MAYO, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: I don't see how we can use a provision of the law that talks about treating or not treating a patient in a case where we really don't have a patient. And that's not a question of philosophical speculation -- dead is dead in Texas and in all 50 states.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: And it was a very emotional day in court for the family having to relive the very graphic details that emerged from court testimony. An attorney for the Munoz family addressed the media after leaving the courthouse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEATHER KING, MUNOZ FAMILY ATTORNEY: This was a sad situation all the way around. We are relieved that Eric Munoz can now move forward with the process of burying his wife.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: Eric Munoz, the husband of Marlise Munoz has not been talking to the media since very early on in this case. We are waiting to hear comment from him but at this point what he has said is that the hospital is essentially, in his words, conducting a science experiment on his wife and he doesn't understand why they refuse to remove her from the ventilator -- Victor, Christi.

PAUL: Nick Valencia for us in Ft. Worth, thank you Nick.

BLACKWELL: So we are just a couple of -- well less than two weeks now from the start of the Olympics in Sochi. But the State Department is warning U.S. athletes to be careful about what they wear and those uniforms at the Winter Olympics. Up next -- the Sochi security threat.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: 13 minutes until the top of the hour.

A big week ahead in the financial world: the Federal Reserve will have a new person in charge and they're expected to make a big announcement on Wednesday. But Wall Street is also keeping its fingers crossed that the markets will turn around.

Alison Kosik is following all of that for us. Hey Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Victor and Christi.

It is a jam-packed week on Wall Street. Here are the things -- the top things we're going to be watching. Ben Bernanke says farewell to the Federal Reserve. His term as chairman ends on Friday. Janet Yellen is taking over the top spot. The first time a woman is leading the more than 100-year-old bank. But before Bernanke leaves he'll preside over one more monetary policy meeting next week.

Also this week we'll get the economy's report card. GDP will be released for the fourth quarter and all of 2013. If the economy grew at a 3 percent pace last it will be the strongest since 2005. But that could be tough especially growth might have been hit by the 16- day government shutdown.

Big-name earnings are out this week, notably Apples and Facebook. Wall Street always watches to see how many iPhones and iPads Apple sold during the key holiday period.

And finally, Wall Street will check its crystal ball. It is the final trading week of the month and according to what's called the January barometer, how stocks do in January predicts how they're going to do for the entire year. The Stock Traders Almanac says it is right almost 90 percent of the time.

Victor and Christi -- that's what's coming up on Wall Street.

BLACKWELL: Alison thanks.

Time now for the "Political Gut Check" with Candy Crowley, host of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION"; she joins us now from Washington.

PAUL: Good morning to you -- Candy. And I know -- well, we've been talking about the Winter Olympics, you know, in Sochi starting next Friday and the State Department. This is something we always hear about security but we haven't heard to this extent where they're warning Americans not to act too Americans.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: Or too American -- I should say.

BLACKWELL: Don't wear too much of the red, white and blue outside the ring of steel. Candy, you have an exclusive interview next hour with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. What are you hoping to hear?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST: Well, I'm interested in knowing how Russians feel about this. You know, these Olympic Games, the bids for them are so competitive. Set aside President Vladimir Putin's desire to be a world player and wanting to show off with these games. Think of the average Russian who's so excited and so proud that these Olympic Games are coming to their country and all anyone talks about is how afraid they are to go.

So I want to hear from the ambassador how they're combating that. We're now hearing stories that tickets may not be selling so well. And also a little bit more about what they're planning to do. We learned from congressmen and some intelligence folks over this past week that they have not always been let in on some of the intelligence that Moscow has and they would like to be helpful in any way they can but no help has been asked for.

So we'll get into that and the whole whether the U.S.-Russian relationship which has been, shall we say, tense for the last several months is in some way getting in the way of providing a more secure environment for these Olympic Games to take place. They are, after all, games.

PAUL: Games. Yes.

Ok, let's switch to U.S. politics here because we all know about former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee riling up some of his fellow Republicans. What is your take on that in terms of the comments he made about women? I mean does it have a big impact on the GOP itself?

Any time that a Republican says something that can be taken and used to fit in to the existing story line about Republicans -- they say it is a false story line and I think you will hear some of that today -- that Republicans don't care about women, or Republicans don't have programs that would help minorities. They say that's flatly not the case.

But they would also tell you that they have a woman problem, as it were, and that is with women voters, getting them to vote. Now married women do tend to vote Republican. Single women do not. So any time you have language that gets a headline, that hurts Republican attempts to repair the imagery and they blame the media for taking things out of context. But there have been, as you know, races over time where a candidate has -- a Republican candidate has said things about women that have hurt them and it has been this war on woman theme has been something the Democrats just see as political gold and they have been pounding it.

PAUL: Well, Candy Crowley, we look forward to continuing that conversation with you here on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy. Thank you so much, Candy -- CROWLEY: Thank you.

PAUL: -- starting at the top of the hour. Thank you. 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Don't miss it.

BLACKWELL: Tomorrow on NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira a look at athletes' families and reporters, all the people struggling with the question of whether to go to the Olympic Games at Sochi. It is part of a special town hall you do not want to miss tomorrow morning on CNN's NEW DAY starts at 6:00 a.m. Eastern.

PAUL: And up next we're going to talk with a singer who toured with The Beatles. And hey, I bet you love her -- Brenda Lee -- chart topper in her own right. Live with us from Nashville right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: So February 7th marks 50 years since John, Paul, George and Ringo got off the plane at JFK Airport in New York and just launched this huge pop culture revolution with iconic hits like "Can't Buy Me Love".

(MUSIC)

BLACKWELL: Yes. So this morning we're taking our own look back to a time before The Beatles made it big when they were the opening act for our next guest.

PHILLIPS: You know it. Brenda Lee. She met the Fab Four while she was touring in Europe in the early 60s. And you just might recognize her hits like "I'm Sorry" and "Sweet Nothings".

(MUSIC)

PAUL: Well Brenda Lee joining us from Nashville right now, we are so grateful to have you. Thank you for making time for us.

BRENDA LEE, SINGER: Great to be with you.

PAUL: Thank you. Tell us right off the bat, what did you think -- first think of The Beatles?

LEE: Well, when I toured with them in the early 60s, I was just blown away by their music and their songwriting skills and I tried to get them a recording contract with my record label at the time which was Decca. Brought back a little demo which I wish I still had and a picture of how they looked and the suits at the label said "That look will never make it and that sound will never happen."

BLACKWELL: Yes. Well, they were obviously wrong there.

PAUL: Wow.

LEE: Yes. They were. BLACKWELL: I want to say about your music that "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" is one of my favorite, favorite Christmas carols of the season.

LEE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: But back to The Beatles. When they came here in that '64 British invasion, "Hard Day's Night", what did that mean for American music? What did it mean to rock 'n' roll in the country?

LEE: Well, you know, it changed completely our music, the whole tapestry of what we knew changed completely with The Beatles. A lot of the entertainers did not survive the English onslaught, as we say.

Some of us did because we were not trying to compete with them. Of course, Elvis did. Ray Charles, myself, Connie Francis. There were several of us artists that, you know, our careers were not affected. But a lot of careers were. And that was kind of bad for us, but the music has withstood the test of time and it was great.

PAUL: So did The Beatles music influence your music after that at all?

LEE: No. I was doing something completely different and as I said was not trying to compete with that sound. Don't think I could have. I had my own sound going and, thank goodness I did, and I had already had a great career before The Beatles came over because, as I said, it completely changed our world, as did Elvis, when he came out.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: All right. Brenda Lee, again, thank you so much for speaking with us this morning.

LEE: Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And everyone at home, don't miss the special episode of CNN Original Series, "THE 60S: THE BRITISH INVASION" premiers this Thursday night at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: We're so grateful that you made time for us this morning. Go make some great memories today.

BLACKWELL: "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley starts right now.