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Ice Emergency In Atlanta; Atlanta Blame Game Begins; Obama On The Road; Cruise Passengers Speak Out; Another President Bush?; Bieber Arrested Again; Grimm's Tale
Aired January 30, 2014 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ice was awful. I must have fallen five times.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Frozen city. Thousands of cars still littering Atlanta's highways. Schools and businesses remain closed. Anger at officials now boiling over. We have new details on commuters' horrors and new insight into what went so wrong.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Decision day. The jury in Amanda Knox's retrial now has the case. Deliberating at this hour. What happens if they find her guilty? We're live from Italy.
CUOMO: Super security. We have rare access inside the FBI's command center ahead of Sunday's big game. The new technology they're using to keep the city and the stadium safe.
Your NEW DAY starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.
CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, January 30th, six o'clock in the east. And we begin in Atlanta because simply it's not over. The nation's ninth largest city still choked in ice from a perfect storm. Roads, businesses, schools, all still shut down for hundreds of people who abandon their cars. They're saying today is the first chance to retrieve them. Even though cops say they may not even be where the people left them. Imagine that.
And this morning, thousands of tired, tortured Atlantans are demanding to know how two inches of snow shut down their entire city.
Carol Costello has been living it down there. She is not just working she is living the situation in Atlanta. The big question, Carol, who's going to step up and take responsibility so you figure out how to do better the next time.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Well, here is a lot of soul searching going on, Chris. In fact the mayor of Atlanta came forward and said that he regrets not staggering the times that schools and businesses and government offices closed, and that will change that if this ever happens again, he's ready. Of course, not many Atlantans actually the good news is that the roads are pretty good this morning.
They still look like a scene out of the walking dead, though, with abandoned cars everywhere. Some of those cars are in the middle of the highway. The National Guard and other state and city agency are going to bring people to their cars if they're still there to pick them up. But like I said, the soul searching still continues.
COSTELLO (voice-over): This morning highway officials are working to remove the vehicles still abandoned on the Atlanta highways. This after a day-long stretch of the interstate looked like a parking lot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just look at the map. You can see it's filled up with red. It is jammed around town.
COSTELLO: Less than 3 inches of snow and ice fell on Tuesday afternoon and it led to miles and miles of gridlock and chaos. A twisting traffic jam that even emergency vehicles and snow removal teams had a tough time breaking through. Overturned semi-s and a burning car left abandoned for hours. CNN meteorologist, Mari Ramos, documented her treacherous journey home.
MARI RAMOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm going to go ahead and get out now because it's pretty scary to stay in here. I'm not alone. There are emergency vehicles behind me, as you can see there. I need help but they can't help me because there's a serious accident up the road.
COSTELLO: The slick roads causing other 1,200 accidents. State troopers tagging these vehicles to indicate there's no one inside as tow trucks slowing hauled away the mess. The National Guard handing out supplies to people forced to spend the night in their cars. Others ditched his car instead to trek miles by foot to get home.
UNIDENTIFIELD MALE: The ice was awful. I must have fallen about five times.
COSTELLO: Fifty Atlanta School children finally slept in their beds last night after being forced to spend a bit early cold Tuesday stranded on their school buses.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I was scared that I wouldn't see my mom until like 7 a.m.
COSTELLO: Others hunkered down spending the night at school. The perfect storm in a southern state crippled by a lack of preparation to prevent such chaos.
COSTELLO: And there's still a certain amount of fear here. I'll give you one example. One of our writer producers was so afraid that he wouldn't get to work this morning that he actually left last night at 7:00. He came into work, brought his sleeping bag and slept underneath his desk. He couldn't get into work yesterday morning, so he just wanted to be sure. Kudos to him.
BOLDUAN: The poor thing. That's another thing that shouldn't have to happen in a situation when they could have prepared. Carol, thank you very much for that. So for Atlanta's mayor and Georgia governor, this is turning into the perfect political storm. Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed passing off some of the blame and Governor Nathan Deal insists it was the forecast's fault. Our coverage continues in Atlanta with Victor Blackwell -- Victor.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. There is some traffic on the major interstates, but do not be deceived. The Atlanta metro area is still virtually shut down. Government offices closed today, schools closed as the nightmare of the ice crisis continues now for day three.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): The blame game between government officials is in full swing.
GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL, ATLANTA: There's no one who's doing any better job than we're doing in the city of Atlanta.
BLACKWELL: More than 1,200 accidents on roads, commuters trapped, cars abandoned, children stranded in schools overnight. Georgia's Governor Nathan Deal blamed the forecast for not seeing prepared.
DEAL: The modeling showing that the city of Atlanta would not be the primary area where the storm would hit.
BLACKWELL: Meteorologists say, not so. CNN's Chad Myers and other local meteorologist --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could see accumulations of one to two inches would fall in Atlanta on Tuesday morning.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: For Atlanta, it is a devastating two inches of snow, that will literally shutdown the city.
BLACKWELL: Outraged Georgia residents are blaming the governor and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed for bringing the city to its knees.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've noticed that there's no any salt trucks, no DOT, no police nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: It is the government's job to make sure their citizens are safe.
BLACKWELL: So what did they know and when? A winter storm watch was issued early Monday morning upgraded to a warning by early Tuesday, a full eight hours before snow started to fall.
DEAL: There's not anybody in this room that could have predicted the degree and the magnitude of the problem that developed. BLACKWELL: Quite possibly the biggest mistake was not closing Atlanta area schools on Tuesday morning. Governor Deal also waited until 5:00 p.m. to declare a state of emergency, long after other states had done so. Roads quickly clogged up, but who's to blame?
MAYOR KASIM REED, ATLANTA: We have shared responsibility, but I want to state clearly, I don't have jurisdiction to clear inner state highways in the city of Atlanta.
BLACKWELL: Georgia Emergency Management officials have issued a civil emergency alert they're calling it, asking drivers to stay off the roads until at least noon as they help people get back to their vehicles. If those drivers have run out of gas that's why they left their cars.
They're going to give them a few gallons gas to make it back home. They're going to help reunite them with their cars by finding the tow company that actually as their vehicle. People wondering where is that vehicle that I left here after I tried to walk eight miles home on Tuesday -- Chris and Kate.
CUOMO: The silver lining is that those politicians down there have another chance to get it right because it's still ongoing so they have a chance to make some good moves, because we didn't know it, isn't going to cut it. Victor, appreciate the reporting this morning.
So we know what's going on in the south, but the truth is half the country is waking up afraid to look inside. So let's get to Indra Petersons and figure out what comes next.
INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The good news is we're seeing this clear out of the south this morning. The showers have made their way offshore. What's left is cold air in these morning hours. Many places in the south this morning are dealing with a hard freeze. That is temperatures below 20 degrees. Think about it. You have all that moisture on the ground. It froze again overnight.
They're dealing with the black ice on the ground, especially on the overpasses and bridges. It's even cooler today than it was yesterday morning. Maybe you have to walk to your car. Look at those temperatures, definitely very frigid out there this morning.
Temperatures do start to warm up. In fact, they will go to above normal conditions. By the end of the week, things will be a lot better out there. Still have the morning hours to have to deal with all the black ice on the roadways.
BOLDUAN: They need to get this fixed. Thanks, Indra.
So President Obama's post State of the Union tour takes him to Wisconsin and Tennessee today where he'll once again promote his year of action with promises to boost the middle class, with or without the support of Congress. But another issue, gun control is expected to dog him while he's on the road. CNN's Brianna Keilar is live at the White House with the very latest. So what are expecting today, Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTJ: Well, Kate, in 2013, I was one of President Obama's probably one of his biggest disappointments a failure to advance a gun bill. That issue is front and center today even as he is pushing his populist economic agenda.
KEILAR (voice-over): President Obama is promoting his go around Congress economic message from the state of the union address. But as he pitches his plan, the issue of gun violence is following him to Nashville where he's scheduled to tout new public private partnerships today at a high school reeling after a student was killed by gun violence Tuesday.
A 17-year-old student is charged with killing his 15-year-old friend inside his apartment building. Witnesses told police that the shooter was playing with a gun when it discharged. Last year, gun control was front and center at Obama's state of the union.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The families of Newtown deserve a vote.
KEILAR: But after a failed vote in Congress to expand background checks --
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The amendment is not agreed to.
KEILAR: Gun issues got just a mention in this year's state of the union.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I intend to keep trying with or without Congress to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, in our shopping malls or schools like Sandy Hook.
KEILAR: On Wednesday there were campaign style stops to push an increase in minimum wage in a Costco warehouse in Maryland.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Nobody who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty and that is why I firmly believe it's time to give America a raise.
KEILAR: And a new kind of retirement account for Americans who don't have 401(k)s at a steel plant in Pennsylvania.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Wherever I can take steps to expand opportunity for more families regardless of what Congress does, that's what I'm going to do.
KEILAR: The White House says President Obama will continue today, that his message will be the same as far as we know. No word yet on how he will affect his remarks if he's going to reference the student killed on Tuesday.
BOLDUAN: All right, well, see on that one. Brianna, thank you so much. There are a lot of hard questions facing the president right now. This Friday, one of our best will be getting the answers for you. Jake Tapper sits down exclusively with President Obama. You can see that interview Friday morning right here on NEW DAY and then of course on Jake's show THE LEAD at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.
CUOMO: Also getting new details this morning from passengers finally freed from that cruise ship turned hospital ward. There's good reason to focus on this outbreak because this is now the worst outbreak in 20 years. Nearly 700 people stricken with suspected norovirus. The stories are disturbing to say the least.
Senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joins us -- Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, I was there in New Jersey yesterday as the passengers were getting off the boat. Well, you know, nearly all of them are healthy now, but they certainly have some terrible memories.
COHEN (voice-over): The "Explorer of the Seas" cruise ship is back home in New Jersey. Passengers feeling everything from relief to sheer disappointment. The cruise liner was forced to cut short by two days after a stomach virus sickened at least 629 passengers and 54 crew members on board.
KIM WAITE, PASSENGER: I was in shock. I just started crying because I thought I was the only one that was sick. When you see everyone else sick, it really upsets you even more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cleaning was extraordinary. You couldn't touch the food.
COHEN: Many passengers say Royal Caribbean went out of their way to accommodate passengers, refunding 50 percent off their next trip, providing free Wi-Fi even handing out free wine and rum on board. But for some passengers there is no replacing lost time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very disappointed. He missed two ports of call because of it. We were looking to being on our honeymoon.
COSTELLO: Exactly what caused this mess, whether it's a norovirus or something else, we still don't know for sure. Samples headed for the labs at the Centers for Disease Control were delayed. Now officials say they hope to have answers by Friday.
COHEN: Royal Caribbean is giving the ship a thorough cleaning using electronic sprayers and UV light before they set sail again tomorrow.
BOLDUAN: As they well should. We'll leave it there. Thanks, Elizabeth. Thanks so much. Let's get over to John now who is in for Michaela.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Thanks too much, Kate. Making news this morning, new details in a growing terror threat from Syria, the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper says the Syrian militant group wants to attack the U.S. He says he believes it is training fighters from Europe, the Middle East, even the U.S. Clapper says al Qaeda linked group have started camps in Syria.
Maryland police now say the 19-year-old accused of murdering two workers at a mall last weekend wrote about trying to kill people in his journal. According to investigators, Darion Aguilar also wrote an apology to his family, but did not explain his motives or mentioned if he was specifically targeting any one. He killed two skate shop employees Saturday before turning a gun on himself.
New this morning, former Florida former Governor Jeb Bush is not ruling out a run for the White House. He told the news he's planning to make a decision later this year. Now his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, has spoken out against the idea saying other political families should have a chance.
This morning, new troubles for Justin Bieber, the 19-year-old pop star turned himself into Toronto police last night charged with assaulting a limb mow driver last month. This comes just days after he was arrested in Miami Beach for DUI and resisting arrest.
Our Jason Carroll is following all this from Toronto. Jason, so explain what happened last night.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, deja vu, here we go again, right, John? You know, whether it's for good or for bad, no matter where Justin Bieber goes, it seems like a huge crowd follows.
Last night out here, it was no exception. Bieber met, as you can see there, by a crush of reporters and fans and police, as he turned himself in for that assault charge. That's actually stemming from an incident that took place here on December 30th. He was in a limousine apparently with a group of friends. The limousine driver claims he was hit several times in the back of the head.
So, it's not about concert dates for Bieber going forward. It's about court dates. He'll have to come back here on March 10th to deal with those charges. On February 14th, he's going to be in Miami dealing with his arraignment on that DUI charge. And then, you've got the incident also in the suburb of Los Angeles, Calabasas. You remember that incident where he allegedly egged a neighbor's home. He's going to have to be dealing with that as well.
His attorney says he's not guilty of all these charges and all this just basically being blown out of proportion. And, John, as for Bieber, as you know, he just released his new video and song yesterday called "Confident". His fans say perhaps that's a sign that he's confident that he can deal with whatever comes forward -- John.
BERMAN: Right now, Jason, not about concert dates but about court dates. And right now, it looks like it may hit just as many cities as a concert tour.
Jason Carroll, in Toronto for us this morning -- thanks so much, Jason.
And in a rare and stunning move, one of this year's Oscar contenders for best original song has been disqualified. It turns the composer of "Alone Yet Not Alone" broke rules to bring this tune to their attention. The song's nomination was a huge surprise.
Academy officials say no replacement nominee will be named. When this happened, people said it wasn't just the song they hadn't heard of, they hadn't even heard of the film. So, they're looking at the nominations this morning. What is going on here?
BOLDUAN: And now we know why.
BERMAN: And now we know why.
CUOMO: But isn't it all about the campaigning?
BERMAN: That's the other question the people are asking here. You know, if the Weinsteins can do this, why can't this dude with this little song --
BOLDUAN: Did they skirt the rules just enough that they're on the up and up?
BERMAN: I don't think they were allowed to email or call the actual people voting on the actual things in your actual category.
ROMANS: That might be a good rule.
CUOMO: Accountability demands answers on this because this seems a little fishy.
BOLDUAN: I think we now have the answer.
CUOMO: I'm just saying. Think amongst yourselves as we go to break here on NEW DAY.
When we come back, he threatened to break a reporter in half and throw him off a balcony in the U.S. Capitol, though not in that order. He's singing a different tune. Is this a case when sorry ain't enough?
BOLDUAN: Also ahead, she was stranded in the Atlanta storm for 18 hours, in her car with her 6 month old baby. No food, no water. She's going to be joining us live coming up on NEW DAY.
BOLDUAN: Welcome back.
It was one of the moments people couldn't stop talking about after the State of the Union, having nothing to do with the speech. But now, the congressman caught on camera threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony has apologized for his outbursts. CNN's Athena Jones has the details behind a mea culpa.
REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: This was an unfortunate incident that shouldn't have happened.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York Republican Michael Grimm apologizing for this nasty exchange with a reporter from CNN affiliate New York 1.
The video of the threat went viral, putting Grimm in defense.
GRIMM: I'm sure my Italian mother is going to be yelling at me saying you weren't raised that way. She's right.
JONES: After talking about the State of the Union speech, Grimm clamps up when reporter Michael Scotto starts to ask about questioning fund raising for his campaign four years ago.
MICHAEL SCOTTO, NY1: And just finally before we let you go, since we have you here, we haven't had a chance to kind of talk about some of the --
GRIMM: I'm not speaking about anything that's off topic. This is only about the president.
SCOTTO: Well, about --
GRIMM: Thank you.
JONES: Two fundraisers close to the congressman have been charged with the case. Whether Grimm had any involvement is still under investigation.
But the former marine and undercover FBI agent wasn't content to walk away.
GRIMM: Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again, I'll throw you off this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) balcony.
GRIMM: No, no, you're not man enough, you're not man enough. I'll break you in half. Like a boy.
JONES: Grimm's angry on-camera response shocked Scotto.
SCOTTO: He knew that this was essentially for all intense and purposes a live situation and he knew that the camera was rolling. He knew that it was going back to New York 1. So, for him to come back and say that, I mean, was surprising to me. He had to have known. I mean, it's kind of PR 101 not to say anything like that in front of an open mic.
JONES: Grimm, who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn later called Scotto to apologize. He says he and Scotto plan to meet for lunch sometime next week to put the matter behind them.
GRIMM: I lost my cool and that shouldn't happen, so that's why I apologized. But that's it for me. I really do have to go back to work for --
JONES: Athena Jones, CNN, Capitol Hill.
CUOMO: All right. Let's move on, shall we?
The big game, you see it right there written on the football. We're getting closer and closer to Super Bowl Sunday. Just three days away. Times Square New York has been transformed into an NFL fan's dream world.
Who we find there? "Bleacher Report's" Andy Scholes live from what they're calling Super Bowl Boulevard.
I'm going to let the ear muffs go today because you got good hair and you're in a great place, Andy. Tell us about it.
ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Well, Chris, I will have to tell you, these earmuffs are pretty awesome. Not only they keep me warm, they double as an IFB. So, I hear you, Chris, so clear as well.
This is the place -- yes, it is cool, Kate. This is the place to be this week. They transformed 13 blocks of broad way here in Time Square into (AUDIO GAP). There are tons and tons of fun things you can do out there.
How do I know? I spent all day yesterday doing them.
Now, everything is free except for the 60-foot toboggan run. That's going to cost you about 5 bucks. But I've got to tell you guys, it's probably the best $5 I've ever spent. It's so much fun.
As I said, tons of things to do out here. You can kick a field goal, get autographs of NFL stars, take a picture with the Lombardi Trophy and so much more.
As for the Broncos and Seahawks, the fun and games, they are over. It's time to get down to business, just three more days of practice left before they hit a field at MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl. Yesterday, the Seahawks practiced again indoors, while the Broncos, they're trying to do their best to get acclimated to the freezing temperatures they're going to face on Sunday. They held their practice outdoors at the Jets facility.
And we all know that Super Bowl tickets are pretty much the hardest thing to come by in sports. Right now, the cheapest ticket on StubHub is going for about $1,600. So how awesome would it be to get tickets as a gift?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What? What are you talking about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are Super Bowl tickets.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, they're not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're row 10. They're in the end zone. And we're staying 2 1/2 miles from the stadium in a Homewood Suites.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it can't happen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to. We're going to the Super Bowl, mom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: That's Vicki Harris. She's a life long Seahawks fan and her son Mike surprised her with Super Bowl tickets this week. And this video has a great back story. Vicki missed out going to the NFC championship game back in 1983 because she was pregnant with her son, Mike. But, guys, I would have to say, he's definitely returned the favor and then some. They're all going to come to the Super Bowl this week here in New York, or should I say, I guess, New Jersey.
BOLDUAN: That is the definition of shock, what she experienced. That is so cute. What a good son.
SCHOLES: Yes, I love the dogs in that video too. They looked like they wanted to go to the Super Bowl.
BOLDUAN: They're like, where are out tickets?
CUOMO: What a dream to make your mother that proud, and to have a mom who loves football that much.
BOLDUAN: I know. I love her.
SCHOLES: Yes, right.
BOLDUAN: Andy, did you put up all those CNN signs behind you?
SCHOLES: Yes, I spent all morning out -- I was out here at 2:00 a.m., hanging this out behind me. Do you they look good?
BOLDUAN: You're not only adorable, you're also interior decorator. I love it.
SCHOLES: Guys, I don't --
BOLDUAN: Tell me, tell me, tell me.
SCHOLES: I was going to say, if you're not busy after NEW DAY, I'll go get in line at the toboggan run and save you a couple of spots so we can have a race.
BOLDUAN: And we all know who's going to win. This girl. I'm just saying.
CUOMO: Well, it depends. It's usually about weight and with your mouth open all the time, you'll be catching all this air and there will be a lot of drag. (INAUDIBLE) how that's going to turn out.
BOLDUAN: John, would you like to take over the next 20 minutes.
BERMAN: I'm just a sub. I'm only here for the day. You guys work this out.
BOLDUAN: Mommy and daddy are fighting.
CUOMO: Wind drag, wind drag.
All right. So, I've got a quick heads up about tomorrow for you. Dennis Rodman wants to come back on NEW DAY. But this time, he wants it to be face to face and live and he wants to do it from the site of his real struggle, not North Korea, but a rehabilitation center, where he's trying to get control of his addiction. And I will be there.
So, tomorrow, you will see the follow up interview right here on NEW DAY.
BOLDUAN: Don't miss that.
All right. Going to take a break.
Coming up next, stranded in the storm. An Atlanta mother stuck in her car for 18 hours with her 6-month-old baby, no food, no water. So, how did they get out of the ordeal? How are they doing today? They're going to join us.
CUOMO: Wait until you hear how many diapers she had, for those of you who know what's it like with six-month-old.
Also anxious moments for Amanda Knox. Why? A jury in Italy deliberates right now. What will her fate be? A verdict in her murder trial -- or retrial is expected in hours. Latest on the case, right ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)