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Obama to Raise Minimum Wage for Federal Workers; Hillary Out of Touch?; Cruise Ship Mystery Illness; Super Bowls Or Super Bust?

Aired January 28, 2014 - 06:30   ET




Let's bring you up to date on the latest news.

A rare and dangerous winter storm set to slam the South. Schools are shut down from Texas to the Florida Panhandle. Meanwhile, the Midwest is facing temperatures below zero. Well over 2,000 flights have already been canceled today.

I want to show you this rare weather phenomenon from Columbus, Ohio. They're calling it snow rollers. They're caused by ferocious winds blowing wet snow that's sitting on solid ice.

Isn't that crazy? Never seen anything like it.

New details this morning in the investigation of that deadly weekend shooting at Columbia, Maryland shopping center. The mother of the man that is accused on killing two people before taking his own life doesn't think her son knew his victims. Police are still trying to determine the motive. In the meantime, the mall has reopened, but the store where the shooting took place remains close.

An investigation is underway into a deadly helicopter crash in Colorado. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are looking into the accident that killed all three people aboard. Local police say the three-person crew was on a routine flight inspecting power lines. Witnesses say that helicopter went down after it snagged one of those very lines that was inspected.

Today, jury selection continues in the corruption trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Nagin led the city during and after Hurricane Katrina. He's facing charges that he profited personally from the city's recovery. He could get 20 years in prison or more if he's convicted on all the charges.

I want to show you shocking video. The moment a woman in Australia pulls a dangerous thing. You see her jumping from a train platform unto a passing freighter, but she falls between the two cars. The train passes and the woman is motionless between the rails. She simply gets up and heads back to the platform.

This, we're told actually happened about two years ago, but the video was just released. Foolish.

BOLDUAN: Sorry, I was in shock there.

PEREIRA: Shocking and terrifying.

BOLDUAN: Foolish, foolish, foolish. We'll leave it there.

Head back to Chris in Washington.

Hey, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Holy cow, I thought I was in the place where foolish things happen. That was ridiculous.

Anyway, guys. Thanks for that.

All right. So, we have breaking news for you from D.C. overnight. We learned President Obama plans to raise the minimum wage himself to $10.10 for new federal contract workers. Now he can do that much by executive order, but he's going to need Congress to raise pay for all workers. The question is, will this preemptive move help or hinder his goal?

With an approval rating in the low 40s, he will have to use the State of the Union, this moment, to take what may be his last best chance to get things done.

Joining us now to preview the speech is CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, Mr. Kevin Madden, along with CNN political commentator Paul Begala.

I am calling the SOTU, not the State of the Union, but saving Obama's term usefulness.


CUOMO: That's what I'm calling that. And, obviously, that is a subject but I can't, as the human being in me, cannot allow one other topic to go, just in case we don't get time.

I have to talk about what Hillary said to the auto -- guys, I have to. Hillary Clinton says that she hasn't driven a car since 1996, and she does it in a humorous way and that the Secret Service doesn't want her to drive.

But when you're gearing up to run for president and you're saying you haven't driven a car since gas was a buck and a quarter, how does it not affect relatability?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: How did she drive in '96? Her husband was a president then? She had Secret Service protection then.

CUOMO: She could still drive.

BEGALA: They really, really frown on that. CUOMO: Come on. My brother is the governor of New York. He's driving motorcycles. He's driving cars.

BEGALA: Yes, he's Mr. Cars, I think they probably couldn't keep him out of a car.

CUOMO: But you don't think -- Kevin, help me with this. Am I overweighing it?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not only has she not driven a car, she hasn't taken a car to pump gas, and found out what the price of gas is, what it costs to get the tires rotated. All those cost pressures, she's sort of been insulated from.

So when you're running for president, you sort of have to have an understanding of what people go through on a day to day basis. So, right now, she doesn't have that. It is a challenge. Do I think it's one she can overcome? Yes.

CUOMO: Yes, but it was an interesting admission. I thought the big pick up from the speech would be that her biggest regret at the Department of State was, of course, Benghazi and losing the lives there. But this does -- it's rattling around in my head for some reason.

BEGALA: But what is she supposed to do? Lie?

CUOMO: No, no.

BEGALA: She has Secret Service protection. Thank God she does. I think former presidents or former first ladies, she have that. She told the truth.

She will have a burden, though, to show that he's in touch with real folks in their real lives and I think she can clear that burden. But you're right. It's (INAUDIBLE) burden.

MADDEN: You know what I find interesting? The level of scrutiny that potential 2016 candidates got, not declared candidates are getting it at this stage in the game, it actually says a lot about what's going on tonight, which is that a lot of people are -- I won't offer a prescription yet, but are people actually starting to tune this presidency out. That's why there's a focus of 2016.

CUOMO: All right. Good. I appreciate the segue.

So, let's talk about this now. (INAUDIBLE)


MADDEN: I did that on purpose.

CUOMO: The president jumps up and says I'm going to drop the hammer here. Executive order, yes, it's just new federal contract workers and it's stage process. But I'm sending the message that you guys have to get on board with me and do this. Paul, you tell me why this will incentivize Congress to work with him as opposed to being seen as a slap in the face.

BEGALA: Well, first of all, what he's doing is very popular. I mean, a poll guy (ph), you look at the polls, 73 percent of the American people want to raise the minimum wage, more than 50 percent of Republicans want to do this. So, he's on the right side of the polling on this.

I think that political leverage, you know, we were talking earlier about how your pop is a Lincoln scholar. Lincoln said to McClellan, if you're not going to use your Army, may I borrow it?

This president is going to say to Congress, if you're not going to use your power to help working Americans struggling into the middle class, let me use it, I'll use mine.

CUOMO: How is the message received? It's kind of strong armed them here on the eve of the "State of the Union". What do you think the impact?

MADDEN: I think the long term politics of it are pretty obvious. I think the long term politics are actually pretty -- quite troublesome from the president. He needs Congress to -- he needs to get along with Congress in order to get big things done, and his actually does it. I think this is a very confrontational move in trying to go around the Congress.

I also think that it's also an admission that he can't really get things done. He can't bring people together up on Capitol Hill. So, he has to use executive action. That sends a troubling message I think to the president -- I think that sends a troubling message to the president's allies.

CUOMO: Why doesn't it send a troubling message to the Republican members of Congress because the polls reflect that people believe it is obstruction from them not allowing the president to get his agenda in place that is responsible for more of the gridlock than the president himself?

MADDEN: Well, so many members of Congress and particularly those in the Republican opposition have been -- they believe that they've been sent the message from their constituents that what they have to do is oppose the president's agenda on things like spending, on things like the growth of government, on things like unilateral action from this president.

CUOMO: But they oppose him on everything.

MADDEN: No, they don't. I think there are areas like trade, for example. There are areas where the Republicans are similarly aligned with the American public on things like spending and deficits that the president actually hasn't reached out and built a sort of bipartisan coalitions that he needs on Capitol Hill.

CUOMO: So, Kevin saying the president hasn't built it. It's not that it's built-in obstruction.

BEGALA: They're opposing even their own ideas when he embarrasses them. His immigration bill is straight from George W. Bush, a few tweaks. It's essentially the Republican -- and John McCain co- sponsored it, the Republican immigration bill.

His health care bill, of course, was written by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

His cap and trade bill was written by John McCain essentially.

So, he's trying to actually embrace Republican ideas and they're even obstructing them. So, that -- I think that's when you get the point it was partisanship.

CUOMO: Did you know that Newt wrote Obamacare?

MADDEN: That is actually not true.


MADDEN: You're not going to make me relitigate the whole health care thing right here in the very limited time we have. But the big problem that the president had on health care was that he applied a one-size-fits-all standard, where if he had done, if he had developed a plan where states were incentivized to write their own plans, tailored to their own unique health care populations, he might have had Republican support, he didn't do that.

CUOMO: You know, in 2011, he said income inequality is the big issue. 2012, he said, you know, we have to get the minimum wage raise. He wasn't able to do it, at $9, he's doing it himself, at $10.

You can send the right message, but you have to find a way to get things done. Can we believe -- I believe this is his last best chance to get things done. Do you believe this is a turning point tonight?

BEGALA: Yes. Yes. He's got to, it is his responsibility to bring them together. And there's a lot of criticism of the Republican obstruction and there should be. But now he's showing that he can act on his own. And I think that will send a chill -- he's only issued about half of the executive orders that my old boss, Bill Clinton, did by this stage of his presidency.

So there's robust power that he has to get things done, which the most important thing, even more important than bringing Republicans together.

CUOMO: Last point, it can't just be the fist though. It has to be the open hand that --

MADDEN: Yes, I'm not a -- I'm a realist on this. I think the president has a very narrow window here to get things done. And that's I think one of the big problems he has right now, is that pretty soon, come June or July, a lot of these folks up on Capitol Hill, they're going to start worrying about themselves. They're not going to be worried about what's the president -- the president's political prospects.

CUOMO: Huge move for the president getting in the car and driving himself around?


MADDEN: There we go.

CUOMO: On this new tour, send the message. I still can't get that out of my head.

Hey, Kevin and Paul, thank you very much.

MADDEN: Appreciate it.

CUOMO: (INAUDIBLE) this speech tonight, it's going to be a big deal for us.

Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: I bet Begala is the same way. He's the kind that doesn't drive. I could see it. I could see it.

MADDEN: Hey, Kate, I valeted Paul here this morning.


CUOMO: And both these guys are much more physically impressive in person also. Begala is 6'3", about 240 pounds.


BOLDUAN: I've told Chris all along, guys, do not mess that he shouldn't be messing with you and he didn't listen. Now you can take him out.

We'll talk to you guys in a little bit.

PEREIRA: So, behave fellows.

BOLDUAN: (INAUDIBLE) impossible.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a cruise ship filled with about 600 sick passengers and crew members is slowly making its way back to port. But what about the thousands of healthy folks who are stuck on board with them? We're going to hear from one of the passengers about how they're all coping.

PEREIRA: And they're trying to stay away from the sick people.

And will the big game be a big bust for businesses in the Big Apple? A lot of large ones (ph) right there. We'll talk about why this Super Bowl may be the cheapest to attend in years.

A big version of NEW DAY will be back in a moment.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

That cruise ship with some 600 sick people on board is making its way slowly back to a port in New Jersey. Federal officials are still scrambling, though, to find out what's behind the vicious and mysterious stomach bug that has hit that cruise ship. But what about the thousands of healthy passengers in crew who are still on board essentially trapped with all of the sick folks for at least 24 hours more. Senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is live at the CNN Center. That is tough, Elizabeth

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, it is tough, but the Center for Disease Control decided to sort of contain this illness and not spread it to people on land. They're going to keep those people on a boat. They didn't dock in Florida. Instead, they are headed to New Jersey where finally people will be allowed to go home.


COHEN (voice-over): Royal Caribbean's "Explorer of the Seas" voyage has been cut short. The vessel to return home early to New Jersey Wednesday. Now, one in five of its more than 3,000 passengers have fallen sick, a wave of illness with symptoms similar to the highly contagious norovirus.

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, VANDERBILT MEDICAL CENTER: Under the best of circumstances, these kinds of outbreaks are bound to happen. Cruise ships are a concentration of passengers that are in a confined space where they have a lot of constant interaction. And that close interaction promotes the transmission of this virus which is transmitted very, very readily from person to person.

COHEN: To help prevent transmission, sick passengers have been asked to stay confined to their rooms, encouraged to call for complementary room service to stay fed and hydrated. Back in the dining room, one passenger tells us there's no more self-service buffets.

VOICE OF ARNEE DODD, EXPLORER OF THE SEAS CRUISE PASSENGER: We are no longer allowed to touch anything. They serve us everything. They hand us our plates. They hand us our silverware. They hand us our cups, our forks, our food. You're not allowed to touch a thing.

COHEN: Washing hands is critical. The virus can contaminate a surface for days, landing on hands, then traveling to the mouth, and causing infection. When the ship finally arrives home on Wednesday, Royal Caribbean says staff will make certain to any remaining traces of the illness are eliminated and will additionally provide a window of more than 24 hours where there are no persons aboard the ship.

For their Caribbean cruise gone wrong, the company says passengers will get a 50 percent refund and a 50 percent credit towards their next cruise ship booking.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COHEN (on-camera): Now, it's interesting because cruise ships have hand sanitizing stations all over the place. But, this particular virus, alcohol-based hand sanitizers don't do a great job of killing it. You really need to wash your hands with soap and water -- Kate, Michaela.

BOLDUAN: I mean, Elizabeth, you can be sure those folks cannot get off of that boat fast enough. That is tough.

COHEN: Oh, I imagine.

BOLDUAN: Oh my goodness. Thank you, Elizabeth Cohen. Great to see you.

PEREIRA: Kind of like you can't get off the boat that is the NEW DAY set with somebody that has a cold.

BOLDUAN: Yes. We need to sanitize the set. But I still love you (ph).

PEREIRA: You love me (ph).

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, New York businesses were counting on some very big profits leading up to the Super Bowl, but with ticket prices dropping and hotels struggling to fill up, is the super bowl really a super bust?


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. The Super Bowl countdown is on. Of course, the big game is this Sunday, and it's estimated to give the $600 million economic jolt to the New York area, but that may not actually happen. Hotel bookings are reportedly not meeting expectations, and those sky-high ticket prices are dropping and now looking like somewhat of a bargain. So, will the Super Bowl be a super bust? Let's bring in Pamela Brown who I know you're looking for tickets now.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Everyone should be looking for tickets now for good reason. So, it seems like uncertainty over how whether Mother Nature will perform on game day is keeping a lot of fans on the sidelines, even though New York and New Jersey are making elaborate preparations to prepare for extreme weather just in case.

Now, the silver lining in this, as we mentioned, lower ticket prices. In fact, this year's Super Bowl could be the cheapest in more than ten years.


BROWN (voice-over): Could the Super Bowl turn out to be an economic super bust? Ticket prices for the big game are taking a nose dive, shaping up to be the cheapest since 2002 right after the 9/11 terrorist attack according to online trackers. The average price paid for a Super Bowl ticket on the inflated secondary resale market plummeted 40 percent from just over a week ago to around $2,056. That's cheaper than most of the Super Bowl tickets in years past says SeatGeek, an online broker.

WILL FLAHERTY, DIR. OF COMMUNICATIONS, SEATGEEK.COM: Many of them seem to say that they're waiting for prices to fall even a little bit more. So, you know, can I get a ticket for $1,000 in the upper deck? Can I get a ticket for $1,500 in the mezzanine level?

BROWN: At a press conference Monday, NFL officials say there's no reason for concern.

ERIC GRUBMAN, NFL EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: The secondary market is very strong. It ebbs and flows if you look at it from one day to the next. You're going to see things going up and down as has happened in every Super Bowl where we've been able to get data.

BROWN: But that big of a plunge on game week is unusual. It all comes down to supply and demand. Right now, online ticket broker, TiqIQ, says there are 16,635 seats remaining.

FLAHERTY: Even millionaires are discerning (ph) consumers and I think that they're kind of buying their time to wait and to see if prices will go down and they certainly have.

BROWN: Why the drop in demand? Weather for one. Many fans choosing to watch at home instead of braving freezing temps at an outdoor stadium. And the fact that most fans of the teams are all the way across the country for MetLife Stadium in New Jersey doesn't help.

LZ GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: So, you're looking at two teams that don't have quite the same national reach as some of the other teams. And on top of that, you're outside in February in the northeast.

BROWN: Some New York City hotels tell CNN they're also falling short of the Super Bowl rush with more vacancies than you'd expect for a premier event.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's already a lot of supply out there. It's a buyer's market going into the week of the Super Bowl.


BROWN (on-camera): How much of the Super Bowl actually helps the local economy is up for debate? The NFL says it rakes is more than half a billion dollars, but studies have shown it's actually far less because people spend their money on NFL sponsored or corporate event. Now, in case you're wondering, says, so far, it appears more Seahawks fans have bought Super Bowl tickets than Denver on go (ph) fans, by 10 percent.

BOLDUAN: I will say that has no bearing on the outcome since the Broncos --

PEREIRA: That's not true.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Pamela. Chris, back to you.

CUOMO: All right. Coming up on NEW DAY, in just hours, the president will deliver his sixth state of the union address. This could be his last best chance to get something done while president. What is he going to tell us tonight? What is he not going to tell us? We're going to preview it from the nation's capital.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is really cold and getting colder.

BOLDUAN: Deep freeze in the Deep South. One of the worst winter storms in decades hitting the region right now. Dangerous ice and snow coming down, closing schools and businesses. And in the Midwest and northeast, new lows. When will it end?

CUOMO: Breaking news this morning. The president says he'll raise the minimum wage himself by executive order. Hear what else he says he'll do without Congress in his big speech tonight. The fallout has already began. We're live in Washington.

PEREIRA: Discovery of biblical proportions. Is this tablet the blueprints for Noah's ark and does this change everything we believe about the biblical take? The man who helped crack the code joins us live.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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