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Obama Speaks in Wisconsin; Officer Delivers Baby During Atlanta Snow-in; Deliberations for Amanda Knox; Stocks Bounce

Aired January 30, 2014 - 12:30   ET


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have come here to talk with you about something that I spent a lot of time on in my State of the Union address on Tuesday, the idea that no matter who you are, if you are willing to work hard, if you're willing to take on responsibility, you can get ahead, the idea of opportunity here in America.

We're at a moment where businesses like G.E. have created 8 million new jobs over the past four years, and that's good news. Our unemployment rate is at the lowest it's been in more than five years.

Our deficits have been cut in half. Housing is rebounding. Manufacturing is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. We sell more of what we make here in America to other countries than we ever have before.

Today, we learned in the second half of the last year our economy grew by 3.7 percent. We still have more work to do, but that's pretty strong. And our businesses led the way.

Over the past year, the private sector grew faster than at any time in over a decade, and that's why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America.

After five years of hard work digging ourselves out of the worst recession of our lifetimes, we are now better positioned in the 21st century than any other country on earth.

We've got all the ingredients we need to make sure that America thrives, and the question for folks in Washington is whether they're going to help or they're going to hinder that progress, whether they're going to waste time creating new crises that slow things down or create jobs and opportunity.

The truth is, and you know this in your own lives and you see it in your neighborhoods and among your own friends and family, even though the economy's been growing for four years, even though corporate profits have been doing very well, stock prices have soared, most folks wages haven't gone up in over a decade.

The middle class has been taking it on the chin even before the financial crisis. Too many Americans working harder than ever just to get by let alone get ahead. and then there are too many Americans who still are out of work, here in Wisconsin and around the country.

So we've got to reverse those trends if we're going to be serious about giving opportunity to everybody.

That's why on Tuesday I laid out some new steps that we can take right now to speed up economic growth and strengthen the middle class and build ladders of opportunity into the middle class.

Some of the ideas I've presented I'm going to need Congress for, but America cannot stand still, and neither will I, so wherever I can take steps to expand opportunity to help working families, that's what I'm going to do with or without Congress.

I want to work with them, but I can't wait for them. We got too much work to do out there, because the defining project of our generation, what we have to tackle right now, what has driven me throughout my presidency and what will drive me until I wave goodbye is making sure that we're restoring opportunity to every single person in America.

Now, this opportunity agenda that I put forward has four parts. First part is creating more new jobs, jobs in American manufacturing, American exports, American energy, American innovation.

By the way, this plant represents all those things. You've seen new jobs being built in part because we've had this amazing energy boom in this country, and the engines that are built here a lot of them are being utilized in that new energy production.

We're exporting a whole bunch of these engines overseas. The manufacturing that's taking place here isn't just good for this plant, it has spillover effects throughout the economy.

And what's also true is that manufacturing jobs typically pay well. We want to encourage more of them.

And there's also innovation going on at this plant so the engines that were built 25 years ago aren't the same as the engines we're building today. So the first thing is let's create more new jobs.

Number two, we got to train Americans with the skills to fill those jobs. Americans like Reggie, we got to get them ready to take those jobs.

Number three, we've got to guarantee every child access to a world class education because that's where the foundation starts for them to be able to get a good job.

And then number four, we got to make sure hard work pays off. If you work hard, you should be able to support a family.

You may not end up being wildly rich, but you should be able to pay your mortgage, your car note, look after your family, maybe take a vacation once in a while, especially when it's kind of cold. Yeah. At the State of the Union I was going to start out by saying the State of the Union is cold, but I decided that was not entirely appropriate. So on Tuesday I talked about what it will take to attract more good paying jobs to America, everything from changing our tax code to reward companies making money here in the United States to boosting more natural gas production.

But in this rapidly changing economy, we also have to make sure that folks can fill those jobs, and that's why I'm here today.

I know some folks in Wisconsin can remember a time a few decades ago when finding a job in manufacturing wasn't hard at all. You want a job, you showed up at a factory, you got hired. If you worked hard, you could stay on the job.

But our economy's changing. Not all of today's good jobs need a four- year degree. But the ones that don't need a college degree do need some specialized training.

We were looking at some of the equipment here. It's $5 million worth of equipment. G.E.'s going to be a little nervous if they just kind of put you there on the first day and say, hey, run this thing, because if you mess up, you mess up.

So that's the challenge for workers, and it's a challenge for companies who want to build things here and want to bring jobs back from overseas.

As one of the top executives here put it, Brian White, if we're going to have a manufacturing base in this country, we've got to find a way to have manufacturing employees.

Now, the good news is that folks across Wisconsin have set out to do just that. This plant's a great example of that. That's why we're here, in addition to just you seem like very nice people.

We're here because you're doing some good stuff that everyone else needs to pay attention to.

Together with a local high school you started a youth apprenticeship program. Students spend four hours a day in the classroom, four hours on the shop floor. After two years they leave with both a high school diploma and a technical certificate. Then you set up an adult apprenticeship program so folks can earn while they learn.

You're working with partners from the Wisconsin regional training partnership to Mayor Barrett's manufacturing partnership to more than 50 other employers big and small across the region in order to spot job openings months in advance and then design training programs specifically for the openings.

You helped set up a schools to assistance program to bring kids to factories to help inspire them to pursue careers in manufacturing.

I just want to make a quick comment on that. A lot of parents, unfortunately, maybe when they saw a lot of manufacturing being off- shored told their kids, you don't want to go into the trades. You don't want to go into manufacturing because you'll lose your job.

Well, the problem is that what happened a lot of young people no longer see the trades and skilled manufacturing as a viable career. But I promise you --

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We're going to jump away from this.

The president is talking about creating new jobs and the best way to do that is to train American workers to take on jobs desperately in need of employees these days.

In fact, ultimately he's going to announce a job -- a federal job retraining program. That's going to be headed up by the vice president, Joe Biden, and it's an effort to get people properly trained so that they can take these high-tech manufacturing jobs and, of course, improve our economy. We'll see if it works.

In other news this morning, one police officer truly showed grace under pressure during Atlanta's traffic nightmare.

Grace is the baby girl this officer helped deliver while mom and dad were trapped in their car. That's next.


COSTELLO: At least one good thing emerged from Atlanta's epic winter gridlock nightmare, baby Grace Anderson.

She was born in the car because her parents could not get to a hospital. They were trapped alongside the road like everyone else.

But they had a little help from a police officer named Timothy Sheffield.

He thought he was checking on just yet another stranded driver. He really wasn't expecting the miracle of life to play out before his eyes.

I talked with the officer.


OFFICER TIMOTHY SHEFFIELD, HELPED DELIVER BABY IN ATLANTA SNOW TRAFFIC JAM: I was checking on stranded motorists as I went along, and I saw this SUV, big Suburban, pulled over on the side.

So, I got out and asked the driver, I said, are you stuck, broke down? And he said no, real calm, we're having a baby. So, I was like, oh, OK. So I didn't know. I just thought maybe they were having contractions.

And when I walked up to the front I could tell that the baby was coming right then. So --

COSTELLO: You saw the baby's head right? SHEFFIELD: I did. Yes, I could see the baby's head, and he was on the phone with our staff on 911

And I could hear her. She was doing an amazing job and keeping him calm. So I was like all right --

COSTELLO: She was keeping him calm?

SHEFFIELD: Yes, I mean, you know, that's -- she was kind of telling him what to do. So I went back and got the first-aid kit and came back up to the car.

And you know the baby popped out.

COSTELLO: At one point, he tried to pull the baby out. You said -

SHEFFIELD: Once the head has popped out, once the baby's head popped out, I could hear because he was helping. He had the phone in his hand still, talking to 911.

And when the baby's head had popped out, he had grabbed the head and he started to pull it. And I was like no, no, no, don't - don't pull. And the mother, a champ, you know, she just pushed one more time and the baby came out. And -- so I looked down, because the baby wasn't crying at first.

And then it started to cry. And then it quit. And checked the airway, you know, to clear the mouth and you could hear the 911 operator on the same - it was kind of like working as a team, said, go ahead and, you know, clear the mouth.

So I went back -- to go back to my car to get like a blanket or something or my jacket and at that time I saw the fire department had pulled up. So they did an amazing job. They couldn't have got there any quicker.

COSTELLO: So the other amazing thing, there were two other kids sitting in the backseat.

SHEFFIELD: There was. And that's what - you know, I had talked to my wife, they were -- we were looking -- the kids were just looking down and just real calm, very well behaved. You know, the -- that family is amazing. They were a well-organized team.


COSTELLO: And those kids were -- are either like, you know, amazed at the wonder of life or they're very traumatized, but that's an amazing story.

Thank you, Officer Sheffield.

We are watching an Italian court right now. Any minute we're expecting a verdict in Amanda Knox's third murder trial. We'll take you to Florence next.


COSTELLO: We're awaiting word from an Italian court. The guilt or innocence of Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend hang in the balance again. Both were acquitted and later re-acquitted of the 2007 murder of Knox's college roommate Meredith Kercher. But the acquittals were overturned last year. Knox is awaiting all of this out in her hometown of Seattle. She said if she's found guilty, she'll become a fugitive. Erin McLaughlin is outside the courthouse in Florence, Italy.

Tell us more.


Well, six jurors and two judges have been deliberating this case for almost nine hours now. The courtroom in the courthouse just behind me, absolutely packed full of journalists, spectators and attorneys waiting for some sort of decision.

We're now told to expect something in the 2:00 p.m. Eastern hour, but that has still to be confirmed by the court clerk. Important to remember, that under Italian law, neither Amanda Knox nor Raffaele Sollecito are required to be present throughout these proceedings or present indeed for this verdict.

Amanda Knox remains at her mother's home, we understand, in Seattle. Raffaele Sollecito did appear earlier today in court. His father telling CNN that he's absolutely terrified, but that he wanted to face justice. We're now hearing that he will not be present in court when the verdict is read out. He has moved - he is currently with relatives in Florence, along with his father.


COSTELLO: Erin McLaughlin, reporting live from Florence. And, of course, when that verdict comes down, we'll take you back to Italy.

Well, stocks have taken a nice bounce up today. Take a look at the Dow, up almost 165 points. We'll tell you what's driving the upsurge next.


COSTELLO: The Dow is up, the Nasdaq is up, and the government announced today that the economy grew at a pace of 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter. All good news as stocks rebounded early after a falloff at Wednesday's close. Alison Kosik has more from the New York Stock Exchange.

Good morning.


And, you know, a lot of people were looking at this GDP report, Carol, to see if that 16-day government shutdown took a bite out of growth. And it really didn't effect growth too much. And you look at the economy, it actually looked pretty good as we closed the books on 2013. GDP grew at a 3.2 percent rate between the months of October through December because consumers spent more, exports went up and there was stronger business investment.

More spending is a good thing, by the way. It shows businesses and Americans have some confidence in the economy. And what a ride it's been over the past few years. And 3.2 percent is actually one of the stronger readings, even though it's down from the third quarter.

And what is GDP? GDP is one of the biggest reports that we get. It's kind of like the economy's report card. Once again, that 16-day government shutdown didn't really hurt growth all too much, but without that shutdown, GDP would have been 3.5 percent instead of 3.2 percent.

What you can see on the board, all that green, Carol, that's Wall Street's relief that the impact wasn't more dramatic.


COSTELLO: I love that. There are still some concerns, emerging markets aren't doing so great and that caused quite the sell-off a couple of days ago. So what's up with that?

KOSIK: Yes, exactly. So investors today, at least for the moment, are feeling better about that. The Dow's erasing a big portion of the losses that we've been watching day after day. Now, yesterday there was already this combination of negative things happening. And then the Fed announcement came out that it was going to go ahead and taper the stimulus.

Even though everybody expected it, the market sold off anyway. You know, investors had expected the Fed to address in some way the recent turmoil in emerging markets. And the traders that I've talked to, they're telling us that they were disappointed that Bernanke and other Fed members didn't acknowledge these other pressures on the global economy.

But things look like they're smooth sailing today, at least for today, getting over those worries largely thanks to GDP.


COSTELLO: Good stuff. Alison Kosik, thank you so much.

And thanks for watching me. I'm Carol Costello. More of CNN NEWSROOM after this.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, Atlanta digs out and the blame game heats up. Who's responsible for the chaos created by two inches of snow and ice?

Also right now, keeping the Super Bowl safe. Why the biggest security challenge may lie miles away from where the game will be held.

And right now, Jeb Bush talks about running for president in 2016 and about why he says his mother needs to think more before she speaks.