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Stepped-Up Security for the Super Bowl; Obama Says He'll Sidestep Congress; Hillary Clinton Hasn't Driven in 1996; Obama's Last SOTU Focused on Immigration Reform; SOTU Filled with Pomp, Pageantry.

Aired January 28, 2014 - 13:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we are learning new details about stepped-up security for the Super Bowl. Security at MetLife Stadium, transit stations and airports will be staffed by federal agencies, including Homeland Security, along with local police. The say everything going into the stadium, from seat cushions to food, drinks, merchandise, it will all be x-rayed.

And Evan Perez joining us now with more on this massive security effort.

So, Evan, what is Homeland Security saying about all of these stepped- up measures?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, they're telling me they're adding hundreds of people up in New Jersey and New York to specifically target the train stations for people going from New York and from stations in New Jersey to MetLife Stadium. A special interest is the train that runs to MetLife Stadium, a few yards away from the entrance to the stadium. And so that's a big concern. One of the things they're going to do on Super Bowl Sunday, they'll do 100 percent baggage check for everybody who is going from that junction into MetLife Stadium.

We have a list of other security procedures they're going to be rolling out, beginning tomorrow. They're going to be adding more air marshals, radiological detection teams. These people working in train stations, doing more baggage checks, random checks of baggage. They're going to be adding some more screenings, more lanes at the airport. This is also to help people get in and out of the New York region for the big game. And there's also a crackdown on sex trafficking and prostitution, which is a big problem around the big events like this. Both the FBI and the NYPD say they're doing this. About 200 people already have been rounded up by the NYPD in the last few days, focusing on this problem -- Brianna?

KEILAR: So broad security measures there. And also, Evan, this is a huge metropolitan area. What kind of special challenges does that pose?

PEREZ: Well, the biggest thing is this is unlike other Super Bowls that are held in warmer climates. This is a transit-focused area. So people aren't going to be able to park nearby the stadium. They're going to be on transit. It creates a lot more problems for screening people to get into the stadium.

And obviously, the weather this weekend is going to be dreadful. It's going to be very cold. So you can imagine even more trouble trying to get people screened wearing big, heavy coats and all of the extra gear they're going to be carrying, which is always a big security risk and a big security concern for federal officials and the local officials that are working this game -- Brianna?

KEILAR: That's right. Take your patience with you. It's going to be a fun time. People just need to relax and get ready for the wait.

Evan Perez, thanks.

Let's take a look at the markets. There you can see the Dow. It is up about 88 points right now. Three sessions of downward pressure from overseas markets eased up today. Wall Street waiting on any news out of this week's Federal Reserve meeting, the last one for outgoing boss, Ben Bernanke.

But there was one very big bump in the road, and that's Apple stocks. Taking a hammering, dropping more than 7 percent after the company reported quarterly earnings. The company said it had record sales for the iPhone, including booming sales in China. But here's the problem. Wall Street analysts were expecting Apple to sell 57 million iPhones. The company, it actually sold 51 million. And that was enough to make some investors sell.

Well, Hillary Clinton admits she doesn't drive. She hasn't been behind the wheel in almost two decades. Could it affect her political future, or is she still in the fast lane? We'll have that next.


KEILAR: In a speech earlier this month, President Obama said he wanted to get more done without Congress. Well, now the White House is announcing the president will sign an executive order raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for employees working under new federal contracts. He'll talk about it in tonight's State of the Union speech.

And joining me to carry on, since I'm struggling to talk --


-- are CNN political commentators, Hilary Rosen and Kevin Madden.

Let's talk about this new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll that shows a slight majority of executive orders. You have 52 percent supporting the president by passing Congress while 46 percent oppose it.

To you first, Kevin.

Does he run a risk, if you have more than a majority of Americans saying, yeah, go by Congress, and the fact that so many Americans are annoyed with Congress? KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not all executive orders are the same. I think the big risk here is that, you know, a central premise the president ran on when he ran for president in 2008 was that he could bring people together and he could change Washington. By going around Congress and by just starting to govern with executive -- with only his executive authority, it says that essentially he's failed to live up to the -- to his central promise that he made when he was a candidate, that he was going to be able to bring people together. So I think that is something that is a risk.

Another risk is that this type of activity will engender a little bit more rancor and partisanship on Capitol Hill. And that doesn't help Congress, but it also doesn't help the president. When people look to Washington and they see more of the same, more partisanship, they tend to judge not only Congress harshly but the president.

KEILAR: Let me ask you about this, Hilary.

First, we should be fair. When we look at the tally of executive orders and the first five years in the last three presidents, you can see that President Obama is actually quite far behind his immediate predecessors. To you, Hilary, on what issues does the president need to reach out to Congress in his speech tonight. And when you're talking about, for instance, immigration, does it really help to go around Congress in this way? Does it affect those issues?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, I think the American people care more about results than they do about the process. That's why you see a majority favoring the president, taking executive authority when he can. And I think that for the president, you know, people just expect the president to work every day on their behalf however that happens. And so sometimes that's going to mean he can pull the levers at the federal government, and give two million workers a raise, because they're working for federal contractors when Congress refuses to give the other 11 million Americans a raise by increasing the minimum wage. So those are things he's going to do.

But there's still a lot that he does need Congress for. The Republicans are, I think -- may try and use this as an excuse not to do things they were going to resist doing anyway. But they ought to increase minimum wage for everyone. They ought to change the immigration laws. America wants immigration reform. So they can do things on education. They can work together on things like education, college affordability, housing and mortgage assistance. There are a lot of things that the president needs Congress for. I think we're going to hear that tonight.

I don't think this speech is going to be a flip-off to Congress. What he's going to say is, let's work together but let's focus on the fact that we've got to give the American people some reasons for optimism and opportunity here.

KEILAR: And while I have you both here, I want to ask you about something. I want to switch gears a little bit, literally, and talk about Hillary Clinton. She gave the keynote address at the National Association of Car Dealers convention yesterday. And during her speech, she admitted that she hasn't driven a car since 1996. You have some who are likening this to George H.W. Bush in 1992, being surprised at how a price scanner worked at the grocery store for what the price of milk was.

And, Hilary, to be fair, we heard President Obama, right, in 2007, talk about the price of arugula at Whole Foods, which doesn't connect with a lot of Americans.


What do you think, Kevin? Does it make her -- does she run the risk? You have both advised candidates. Does she run the risk of seeming out of touch here, or does she have an excuse, because she has a Secret Service detail, and maybe they don't want her to drive?

MADDEN: Well, I think some people are jealous. Some people don't like to drive.


I would love to be chauffeured around. I know that. Especially when I have my three screaming boys in the back seat. I wish I didn't have to drive a car.

But look, you know, for a lot of American people -- for a lot of the American people, there's a cost pressure associated with the economy when it comes to owning a car, pumping gas, you know, just getting the tires changed. And so she is sort of insulated from that cost pressure now. So there's maybe a bit of a relatability problem.

But I will say that I don't think we should make too much of this. Is it a challenge? Sure. There's a whole bunch of other challenges that Hillary Clinton faces that are much larger than just this one, though.

KEILAR: Yeah. And I imagine you would agree with that, right, Hilary? I said, hey, you know, she, generally speaking, has had a secret security detail a lot of times, especially back when she was the first lady. You're not allowed to drive --


ROSEN: And that's what you want. You want the Secret Service to make those decisions. You don't want other folks to, and so you sure don't want it to be political fodder when people are talking about safety and security.

But, you know, the -- the interesting thing is that so many Republicans are talking about her driving today. And that's probably because one of the other things she talked about yesterday was something that Republicans don't want to hear, which is a thoughtful and sincere regret, an explanation about Benghazi.

You know, my final point on this is sometimes you want to look at the group that you're talking to. Going to the automobile dealers, you might want to come up with a funnier story than you haven't actually used their product for the last -- (LAUGHTER)

KEILAR: That's a good point.

ROSEN: It is kind of ironic.

KEILAR: Yeah, definitely.

And, quick, final point to you because of what Hilary brings up, Kevin. When Hillary Clinton talked about Benghazi and that being her greatest regret, what happened in Benghazi, she said, does she address some of the questions? Does she inoculate herself moving forward, let's say --


MADDEN: No. No. It's an inadequate response. It is an issue that's going to continue to come up in any perspective 2016 campaign. But I think the thing we have to remember about that issue is that the people on the left have made up their mind on where they are on Benghazi and the people on the right have made up their mind. The bigger question is whether or not it's an issue that really mobilizes people either for or against Hillary or in the middle. That, we don't know. As we get closer to 2016, we'll probably find out.

KEILAR: And we will certainly be revisiting this topic with both of you.

Kevin Madden, Hilary Rosen, thanks to both of you.


MADDEN: Great to be with you.

KEILAR: Thanks for being on.

MADDEN: You bet.

KEILAR: Still ahead, mastering the art of the speech. Tonight's State of the Union address is both an opportunity as well as a challenge. Can the president take advantage of this forum? And while he's making his speech, can he make it memorable and meaningful?


KEILAR: Let's take a look back now at an issue President Obama addressed in last year's State of the Union: His hope for action and progress with immigration reform. Did he get what he wanted?

Tom Foreman takes a look.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ever since he took office, President Obama has talked about the need for immigration reform. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system. To cut waiting periods and attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.


FOREMAN: Last summer, the Senate passed a huge overhaul package with bipartisan support. It looked promising. But then it hit the House and there it remains. Republicans not satisfied yet with how this reform would deal with the millions of people who came into the country and remain here illegally and undocumented. That promise is not dead, but it is definitely stalled.


KEILAR: Tom Foreman, thank you.

And tonight's State of the Union speech will be filled, as it always is, with pomp and pageantry. For President Obama, it represents a major opportunity and a major challenge.

Our Candy Crowley explains.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The world will little note nor long remember what we say here. That was not true when Lincoln said it about his Gettysburg Address. It is true about most State of the Union speeches, which is not to say they're nothing.

They are a moment on the grandest pulpit of all, and in primetime maybe.

ANNOUNCER: The president of the United States.


STEPHANIE CUTTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They're priceless in terms of being able to communicate your message and your agenda.

CROWLEY: These speeches have become the product of a cast of thousands and a nightmare for speech writers. Government agencies weigh in on programs they want mentioned to elevate their status. State Department and Pentagon types usually shortchange, push for more word count. Political operatives shake out troublesome verbiage. We are told the president, a wordsmith in his own right, is heavily involved in writing and editing.

A key to success is knowing your audience, and that is not these people, lawmakers in the House chamber. They're pretty much window dressing.

CNN commentator, Stephanie Cutter, watched the process during the Clinton and Obama years. CUTTER: Whoever is standing up clapping, that's great. Whoever's sitting in their seat, refusing to clap, that's great, too.

OBAMA: My fellow Americans.

CUTTER: You're not talking to people in the room. You're talking to people sitting on their couches at home.


CROWLEY: Also helpful, if not too kitschy, props. President Reagan once brought along 43 pounds worth of federal budget.

NEWT GINGRICH, (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE & CO-HOST, CNN'S CROSSFIRE: He was talking about the need to shrink government and so forth. It was a very vivid demonstration.

CROWLEY: Except for historians and the occasionally curious, State of the Union speeches, as Lincoln might say, are not long remembered, but certain phrases endure, capturing a moment in time.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, January 8th, 1964.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This administration, today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.

CROWLEY: Richard Nixon, January 30th, 1974.



CROWLEY: Bill Clinton, January 23rd, 1996.


CROWLEY: And George W. Bush, January 29th, 2002.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: States like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil.

CROWLEY: They're like mile markers in a nation's history. Be assured, as they write and rewrite at the White House, they're wondering, arguing, and probably betting on what words will capture the moment of January 28th, 2014.

We asked former presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, a Republican, what he thinks President Obama should say.

RICK SANTORUM, (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I made a bunch of mistakes and I'm here to say we need to correct them.

CROWLEY: Delete. Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


KEILAR: Be sure to watch CNN's special coverage of the president's State of the Union address tonight starting at 7:00 eastern.

When Russell Wilson steps on the field to quarterback the Seattle Seahawks in this weekend's Super Bowl, he'll bring with him a story of perseverance and personal tragedy. Hear it in his own words, next.


KEILAR: I know you're probably getting ready for the big Super Bowl this weekend, and have I got a story for you. He may not be as well- known as his opponent, Peyton Manning, but Russell Wilson has the same shot as a Super Bowl ring this year as Peyton Manning does, and is one of the smallest quarterbacks in the NFL. Wilson says he's had to work that much harder to make a name for himself in the league.


RUSSELL WILSON, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACK: Ever since I was in high school, you know, I always wanted to play professional football, professional baseball, be a two-sport star. I had all these dreams. I wanted to one day -- once sports was all over, I wanted to be a CEO of some business and do all these things. And so for me, a lot of that's come true so far.

My dad was always one to push me in the right direction. Never too much, where he would run me into the ground or anything like that. It was always to uplift me and encourage me to be great. My dad used to always tell me, don't be afraid to excel. Don't be afraid to be great. So those things just matter to me. Just being able to change people's lives and be one of the best. With my dad passing away in 2010, you know, a hard moment in my life, but I also knew that he was right there with a huge smile on his face, smiling from ear to ear. And he was watching every game. He's in the playoffs. He's sitting there on the 50 yard line. He's got the best seat in the house.


WILSON: Being a 5'11" quarterback, not too many people think you play in the National Football League. I knew my height doesn't define my skill set. I want to be the uncommon one. I think it's cool that I'm only 5'11" playing in the National Football League. Because there's so many other kids that have the talent. And hopefully, I can help open up doors for them, too, as well.


KEILAR: Well, legendary folk singer Pete Seeger has passed away.



KEILAR: You know that voice. His career spanned more than 70 years, including this performance at President Obama's first inauguration.

Seeger's grandson says that he died of natural causes in a New York hospital yesterday. He is best known for hits like "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "If I Had a Hammer." Seeger was also known for his activism. He was a longtime supporter of the labor movement. And he's even credited with popularizing the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome." Pete Seeger was 94.

Be sure to watch CNN's special coverage of the president's State of the Union address. That will be tonight starting at 7:00 eastern.

And that is it for me. Thank you so much for watching.

NEWSROOM continues right now with Don Lemon.