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Polio-Like Illness Terrifying Parents; Crisis In Ukraine; Bill Clinton Campaigns In Kentucky; Arizona Facing Backlash for Bill

Aired February 25, 2014 - 05:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A mystery illness terrifying parents. Children suddenly paralyzed, doctors unable to help. New information that we're learning just this morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Watching for records on Wall Street. Markets closing near record highs on Monday. We're going to tell you what happened overnight and what you can expect this morning.

BERMAN: And developing overnight. Did you miss this? Joe Biden helping Seth Meyers kick off late night with a big announcement, sort of.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Great to see you. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

Developing this morning, word of a potential public health threat in California. Officials there mystified by a childhood illness that mimics polio but isn't. Sophia is one of five confirmed cases showing signs of this illness. There may be 20 more. Doctors say the children experience sudden, apparently irreversible paralysis affecting one or more limbs.


DR. KEITH VAN HAREN, PEDIATRIC NEUROLOGIST: The prognosis that we've seen, so far, is not good. Most of the children we've seen have not recovered use of their arm or leg.

JESSICA TOMEI, VICTIM'S MOTHER: I'd like to say that Sophia is still a healthy, young girl who's thriving. She goes to preschool. She does dance. And we were very lucky that it only affected her left arm. I was with her in the ER when she was having trouble breathing. I know that we are so lucky that she's here, and I know that many families go through losing a child. So, we're so grateful that Sophia is with us today, and she's going to do amazing things.


ROMANS: I'm sure she will. All of the children being studied were vaccinated against polio. Doctors studying the syndrome say it's extremely rare. They say all the cases have been reported in California and only in the past 18 months.

BERMAN: Still a mystery.

A diplomatic showdown brewing with Ukraine set to form a new government, and Russia refusing to acknowledge the new government. Moscow blasts the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych as an armed mutiny. Yanukovych is now being hunted in his own country, accused of mass murder.

With Ukraine in turmoil, the U.S. says it is ready to provide financial assistance to help stabilize the new government. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live in Kiev. And Nick, meanwhile, there is a stunning silence from Russian leader, Vladimir Putin.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. We've only heard from his prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, not really the main player when it comes to foreign policy decisions in Moscow. But only Putin's being at the winter games for the past two weeks just left recently, but we haven't heard a beg, overarching statement on this remarkable crisis for him and his sphere of influence in this part of the world.

Today, in Kiev, arrives U.S. deputy secretary of state, William Burns, with some officials from the U.S. treasury. They're here to obviously provide political support initially but to talk through the complex, messy task of whether the billions of dollars that Ukraine needs right now to keep its economy and government afloat. Where does that come from? It was going to come from Russia, but they had political demands upon Ukraine that led to the protest behind me.

Now, the EU being asked to supply that, but they are being cautious. They want to see the IMF involved and set various terms to be sure the money, in their eyes, is spent correctly, but $35 billion is the figure the government said they wanted yesterday, and they also said the country is bankrupt, that the coffers are empty. So, real pressing demands right now. While the manhunt goes on for Viktor Yanukovych, there were charges of mass murder against him.

Last seen in Crimea in the south of the country, leaving a private house in a place called Balaclava. Suggestions he might be hiding on a Russian naval base. Nothing confirmed about that at all, but still, the crisis continuing here because the country does not have a fully competent government yet.

Ministers filling up the cabinet, but the question of who's prime minister, effectively, the new CEO of the country under the weakened constitution that Viktor Yanukovych agreed but also eventually led to his ouster, that hasn't been decided. That could be by Thursday -- John.

BERMAN: Political intrigue, economic intrigue, all tied up at the same time. Nick Paton Walsh in Kiev. And again, you can hear the speakers behind Nick, those are the memorial services for the people killed in Kiev over the last week. Thanks, Nick.

ROMANS: All right. Here in the states, an urgent question for your 401(k) this morning, will the stock market rally keep going or hit the pause button? The S&P 500 will open within one point of its record closing high. The NASDAQ is at a nearly 14-year high. And the rally is boosting overseas markets. The Japan's Nikkei leading the way. A month ago, we were talking about a possible correction in the market, but that drama appears to be over.

January's losses completely erased! And your 401(k) is jumping. Fidelity says the average balance was $46,000 five years ago in 2009 when the stock market hit bottom. It's gone almost straight up since then. The average balance now $90,000 and here's why. The S&P 500 has surged more than 170 percent in that time. But now, it's raising major questions about what's next. Remember, this bull market is nearly five years old.

Most analysts are optimistic, but they're cautious, because history shows the older the bull run, the more volatile it is. And John, there has not been a meaningful pullback in two or three years for the stock market. A lot of people saying when a pullback comes, it could be ugly. But in the meantime, every pullback just keeps going to new highs.

BERMAN: No. January was what, five percent? But that didn't stop things.


BERMAN: All right. Thanks so much.

One-on-one at the White House. President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner will have a private sit-down in the oval office this morning. Broad set of topics said to be on the agenda. It's likely the president will lobby the speaker on his legislative priorities, including immigration reform, a minimum wage increase and extending unemployment benefits that lapsed last year. Unclear how receptive the speaker will be, but productive that the two are meeting.

ROMANS: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says it's time for reality as wars end in an era of budget cuts. Hagel's proposed defense budget for 2015 calls for a smaller fighting force across the board. He'll also ask Congress for another round of base closures. Hagel's plan would shrink the army to pre-World War II levels. He says the U.S. needs a smaller, high-tech military as opposed to a larger, less- modern force.

BERMAN: This morning, Reuters reporting that Iraq has signed a deal to purchase weapons from Iran, one that would break a United Nations- imposed embargo on weapon sales by Tehran. The deal is said to be worth $195 million and includes light and medium arms, various types of ammunition, communications equipment and protection against chemical agents. Several Iraqi lawmakers telling Reuters that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made the deal after being fed up with delays in u.S. arm shipments.

ROMANS: Breaking this morning, a South Korean flag fishing vessel stranded in Antarctic waters with some 90 crew members onboard. Chilean navy officials say the "Quang Ja Ho" (ph) ran aground near the coast. All of the crew members are said to be in good health. The Chilean navy is providing support while waiting for ship owner to coordinate a rescue plan.

BERMAN: All right. So, last week's thaw was nothing but a -- I can't even say it -- it was nothing but a weather tease.

How's that? Big cold is back with a vengeance. Parts of the Midwest and northwest could be seeing record low temperatures, some 40 degrees below normal. A weather tease.

ROMANS: He says this with a smile on his face. Indra Petersons has some explaining to do for us. You know, Indra, it's like, you know, it's like forecasting the stock market. You can't take credit or blame with the forecast, right? You just tell it like it is.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, When it's good, I totally won credit.


PETERSONS: Because you know what, I don't have a choice. Everyone complains that it's always my fault. So, yes, I want the return favor come springtime. Nonetheless, here we go again, guys. Take a look. See all this pink, the blue, the purple? This is not good stuff. This is definitely the cold air that's now dipping into the upper Midwest and making its ways in towards the northeast, each day spreading even farther down to the south.

That is the problem that we are dealing with today. In fact, wind chill advisories are out there. Why? Because it's cold. Let's talk about the current temperatures. Here's what it's actually out like there. Kansas City 24, Chicago 18, Minneapolis without the wind chill, three below. Now, let's add the wind chill. It almost looks like it was already in play, but no. It feels like 20 below in Minneapolis, Chicago single digits.

That's what it feels like right now. Even down to the south, I mean, Atlanta just barely above freezing at 36 degrees. You know, it's cold when the southeast feels a little chill. And it's not the only story today. The difference from yesterday, even some flurries are going to be making their way through the Ohio Valley and into the northeast. Nothing major, but enough.

You'll see maybe just about under an inch for some of the big cities out there. Lake-effect snow totals will be higher off the lakes. Down to the south, yes, it's warmer, so several inches of rain are going to be seen out there. But again, the big story, the cold is here. It is getting worse by tomorrow morning. So, if you thought today was bad, nothing compared to tomorrow, guys.

BERMAN: Meteorological tease.

PETERSONS: There's your tease.


BERMAN: I just said it right there out loud. All right. Thanks, Indra.

ROMANS: Thanks, Indra.

All right. While you were sleeping, Vice President Joe Biden making a big appearance late night. What he had to say about, I don't know, a 2016 presidential run? We're breaking it down for you live right after the break.


BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Former president, Bill Clinton, back on the campaign trail today in Kentucky, lending his presence to Alison Grimes who's fighting to unseat Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell.

ROMANS: Clinton's presence by Grimes' side will also be a good indication for how much traction the Clinton's name is going to have in a red state. CNN political editor, Paul Steinhauser, joining us now more from Washington with more. Good morning!

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Good morning! Here we go again, right? The democrats bringing out the big gun, I guess, you could say. Listen, Bill Clinton is basically a rock star on the campaign trail for his party. Here he goes again. And you made a good point, this time again, campaigning in a red state where President Barack Obama and his policies are not so popular.

You know, a senior Democratic Party official told me that Bill Clinton's probably their best surrogate in these kind of states rather than the president himself. And with The democrats defending a bunch of Senate seats in those states, expect to see a lot of Bill Clinton this year. As for today, Alison Lundergan Grimes, there is a family tie here to the Clintons.

Her father was the party boss, the Democratic Party boss in Kentucky back in the day, and he's also very close to both Bill and Hillary Clinton. He chaired Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign in Kentucky. And you know what? We've seen this with Bill Clinton the last couple cycles when he goes on the campaign trail, he often helps people who backed Hillary Clinton in 2008.

So, all this kind of hovering over Bill Clinton now as he goes out on the trail this year, because you've got Hillary Clinton thinking about running in 2016. And finally, the race itself, as you mentioned, Grimes going against McConnell. Remember, McConnell, the Senate minority leader, he not only faces her in the general election, he still got to get by a primary challenge. He's being challenged by a Tea Party surrogate on the right -- guys.

BERMAN: While you're talking about the Clintons, let's continue this episode of "I love the 1990s."


BERMAN: And let's talk about the Bush family, because Jeb Bush making a big splash in the news with a potential 2016 thing hanging on the horizon.

STEINHAUSER: Yes, and he was asked yesterday about that. He said listen, I'll decide by the end of the year, so no news there. But he was also asked about his mother's comments. Remember when his mother said, listen, Jeb would make a great president, but there've been enough Bushs in the White House, let other families run. Here's what he said.


JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I get the point, and if I was to run, I would have to, you know, overcome that. And so will Hillary, by the way. Keep the same standards for everybody.


STEINHAUSER: There you go. Jeb Bush admitting it's an issue for him and Hillary Clinton -- guys.

ROMANS: Meantime, you've got the vice president last night on with Seth Meyers. I want to listen -- I want to get your reaction to something he said but didn't say. Listen.


SETH MYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": You've been very open about talking about 2016 and considering what you're going to do. Where are you in your thought process? What are you taking into account?

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you know, I was planning on making a major announcement tonight, and, but I decided tonight's your night.


MYERS: Thank you. Thank you.

BIDEN: So, I hope you'll invite me back.

MEYERS: Yes, absolutely. And Amy, your 2016 plans?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I'm going to run for president.

MEYERS: OK, great.



ROMANS: "I hope you'll invite me back," Paul, he says, so he can make an announcement?

STEINHAUSER: Well, there was the big news right there. Amy Poehler's running for president, not Joe Biden.


STEINHAUSER: I don't know. She's got my vote. No. Seriously, though, Joe Biden, he's not going to make that announcement on a late- night talk show, no doubt about that, but he's having a lot of fundraising his visibility. This morning, he's on "The View." He's going to talk about health care and he's joining the ladies of "The View."

So, expect to see a lot more Joe Biden raising his visibility this year as he gets closer to maybe making a decision on whether you think he should run for president again -- guys.

BERMAN: Didn't John Edwards announce his candidacy on "The Daily Show"? I suppose you could make the case that it didn't work out so well for him.


BERMAN: Paul Steinhauser, great to see you this morning. Thanks so very much.

So, let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY."

ROMANS: Kate Bolduan joins us this morning. Good morning, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Yes. One recommendation, do not follow how John Edwards ran his campaign.


BOLDUAN: That would be --



BOLDUAN: Not advisable. All right. Good morning, guys. We're going to be talking about defense secretary Chuck Hagel's proposal to trim down the military this morning, trim it. When we say trim, it's actually a pretty huge cut, reducing the army to its smallest size in decades. Now comes, of course, the backlash. A lot of Congress saying no way, no thanks, this is not a good idea.

We're going to talk this morning with Senator John McCain. He's going to be joining us live to talk about what he thinks of the secretary's plan.

And also, it was the new hit of the winter games, slope-style skiing. American men took all three medals, gold, silver, and bronze in that event. They are all three here this morning to talk about their great Russian adventure. They are three very interesting guys. They call themselves like family is how they describe themselves, and they're going to be joining us to talk about it.

ROMANS: Photo bomb!




BOLDUAN: -- going to be sneaking around with his phone. It's going to be really fun.

ROMANS: Thanks, Kate.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up for us, you have to look at these pictures. A family shaken when a celebration just turns to horror. Look at that. The warning they want you to hear this morning, coming up next.


ROMANS: The governor of Arizona facing pressure this morning to veto a bill many have called discriminatory.

The Arizona House approved a bill allowing business owners to refuse service to same-sex couples because of their religious beliefs. The move has cast unwanted attention on the state, and some elected officials are now saying it was a bad decision.


STATE SEN. BOB WORSLEY, (R) MESA: We feel very badly that the state reputation has been tarnished by our vote, and that's why we're asking the governor to veto this.

STATE SEN. STEVE PIERCE, (R) PRESCOTT: We want to correct something that we did that it isn't good for the state, especially if you look around and see the negative publicity from all over the world, as Bob said. It's been bad.


ROMANS: The NFL, which is set to host next year's Super Bowl in Arizona, says in a statement to CNN that it's, quote, "following this controversy in the state and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law."

BERMAN: A thinly veiled threat from the NFL there.

ROMANS: It is.

BERMAN: Meanwhile, new fears about acetaminophen, the active drug in Tylenol. A new study suggests a strong link between prenatal use and cases of ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The study shows increased risks for kids whose mother took the drug, especially during the second and third trimesters.

ROMANS: A frightening in scene in Indiana. Twenty-four people -- oh, it's hard to watch -- they plunged to the ground after a deck collapse. It actually happened back in December during a family Christmas party. As people gathered for a group photo, the deck gave way.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were in shock. I mean, I said how could this happen?

JEREMY WILT, WIFE AND DAUGHTER WERE ON DECK: Some people called this a freak accident. You know, a meteorite hitting your house would be a freak accident. This was going to fall one day.


ROMANS: The family involved is now suing the people who made and maintained the deck. They're hoping the video can help others spot potential deck dangers. Three of the people injured in that collapse still are not walking.

BERMAN: Profiles in courage now. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, who, of course, survived a decade of captivity in a Cleveland house, they're receiving Ohio's courage award. Look at this, the three women getting a group hug from Ohio governor, John Kasich, during Monday's ceremony. Kasich called them extraordinary and said despite having the worst in this world thrown at them, they rose above it and emerged not as victims but as victors. Love seeing them smile.

All right. Coming up for us next, Samsung out with its newest smartphone. Tech hype. The stakes very, very high. "Money Time" is next.


ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome back to EARLY START. It's "Money Time."

The biggest question in money today, will the bull market keep running or is it running out? Wall Street is making another run at record highs. The S&P 500 within one point of its closing high. The bull market is getting ready to celebrate, oh, its fifth birthday. That's in less than two weeks.

BERMAN: Happy birthday!

ROMANS: I know, and it has been happy if you've been invested in the market, but everyone's wondering, when will stocks run out of steam? After all, not all the news has been good. Housing numbers out this week will probably be weak. I'm expecting kind of a weak number today.

And winter weather dampened the economy in January and February. For now, though, analysts are optimistic. We'll see if there's a pause button hit today. Futures pretty flat right now.

$19 billion, hey, that's cheap!

BERMAN: Huh? ROMANS: That's the message from Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, in his first public comments about the company's deal to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion, an astonishing sum. Speaking at a big tech conference known as Mobile World Congress, Zuckerberg points to WhatsApp's growing user base.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO: -- on a path to connecting more than a billion people, and there are very few services in the world that can reach that level, and they're all incredibly valuable.


ROMANS: WhatsApp users pay $1 a year to use the service, so if it gets a billion users, it's projected, hey, that's not bad, right? Nice chunk of change for Facebook, but it really wants those eyeballs. Meanwhile, WhatsApp says it's going to start offering voice calls this spring.

And the Galaxy S5 debut. Samsung launching its latest smartphone at the same conference Zuckerberg was just appearing at. For Samsung, the stakes are high. Last year's Galaxy S4 was criticized for being virtually the same as the previous version, and that was a sales disappointment. So, this time, the company has some new bells and whistles.

The S5 is resistant to dust and water. The display can adapt to bright and dim settings. It also has a heart rate sensor, fingerprint scanner on the home button, just like the iPhone.

BERMAN: But it sounds like Samsung's having the same problem with Apple's having, which is that real, new, true groundbreaking innovation is tough. These phones have advanced, you know, sort of as far as they can get.

ROMANS: I know, and people have very high expectations. They want a big, you know, a big bang every time, and now, they're getting just kind of little bangs.

BERMAN: The water-proof thing could be interesting, though, since you have to make calls under water sometimes.

ROMANS: I do like the sensor that detects, you know, whether it's bright or dim. That's cool. I'll have to try that one out.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks, everyone, for spending the morning with us. "NEW DAY" starts right now.