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Polio-Like Illness Paralyzing Children; Polar Temperatures Hitting Millions; Hagel Defends Pentagon Cuts; Ukraine Poses A Problem For Putin; El Chapo Formally Charged; Holder On Gay Marriage Bans; Remembering Harold Ramis; Protests in Arizona; Unimpressive Workout for Michael Sam

Aired February 25, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The prognosis we've seen so far is not good. Most the children we've seen have not recovered.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Medical mystery. We have new details on the scary polio-like disease that's paralyzing children in California. We're going to hear from their parents for the first time and try to figure out what's behind this unknown disease.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Arctic plunge. The winter that will not let up. Temperatures set to drop well below normal today across the Midwest and the east and even more snow is on its way. We're tracking it all.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: CNN exclusive. Ted Nugent speaking out after calling the president a subhuman mongrel. His new promise moving forward about using such language. And did he really call himself a black guitar player from Detroit?

CUOMO: 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. Welcome to the conversation.

BOLDUAN: Welcome.

CUOMO: It's Tuesday, February 25th, 6:00 in the East.

We're all sick. Coming up a real medical mystery for you that's unfolding in California. As many as 25 children stricken by an illness similar to polio. One of the victims, take a look. This sweet little girl named Sofia Jarvis. Her left arm a paralyzed. I don't' they're completely in the dark as to why or how to treat. We'll be hearing from the parents for the first time this morning. Dan Simon is live in San Francisco monitoring the situation. Anything new, Dan?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. This is a very serious disease and the children who have gotten this have not recovered. One of them is this 4-year-old girl from Berkley, California, who came in with respiratory-like problems.


SIMON (voice-over): Sofia Jarvis is an adorable 4-year-old, happy and seemingly healthy until a year and a half ago when her left arm suddenly stopped moving.

JEFF JARVIS, FATHER OF PARTIALLY PARALYZED 4 YEAR OLD: We kind of joked that this was like the level where in Sofia's life. She is the red head. She's beautiful, she's talented, she's got older brothers. She's got - you know, she's really bright.

SIMON: Doctors say Sofia is one of at least five children in California showing signs of a mysterious polio-like illness, the exact cause unknown. What they do know is her arm is paralyzed and it came on suddenly after Sophia initially showed symptoms of asthma.

JESSICA TOMEI, MOTHER OF PARTIALLY PARALYZED 4 YEAR OLD: She had not had any history of asthma.

SIMON: After a few days at the hospital, Sofia's mom took her back to the doctor for a follow up.

TOMEI: As we were leaving that appointment, Sofia went to the treasure box to grab her toy after seeing the doctor and I saw her left hand mid-grasp stop working.

SIMON: An MRI later showing she had a lesion on her spinal cord. Sophia never got better. She calls her arm --


SIMON: Doctors don't know what's causing these cases of weakness in limbs or paralysis.

DR. KEITH VAN HAREN, PEDIATRIC NEUROLOGIST: The prognosis so far is not good, mostly children, we see them not recovered.

SIMON: Twenty more cases are suspected, but they haven't been officially verified. All of them occurring in the last 18 months and all of them in California. Still doctors say parents should not panic.

HAREN: It's extremely rare. Our suspicion is it's a virus, but that's unproven. We know it's not polio virus. There are other viruses that can do this. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON: Well, researchers say two of the children tested positive for something called enterovirus 68, which has been linked to polio-like symptoms in the past. Again, it's not clear what's causing this. The Centers for Disease and Control are all so on the case. The bottom line here is doctors and Sofia's parents just want to get the word out - Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely, how horrible for that family and how frustrating for all of those families to just not know and just simply deal with it right now. Clearly a lot to continue looking at. Dan, thank you very much.

Turning to the weather now. Remember those warmer temperatures this past weekend? What a wonderful memory. Well, we all need to get over it, I guess. A deep freeze is quickly making its way across the country with millions in the path of another blast of arctic air.

The Midwest is already feeling the affect. Temperatures are going to plunge below zero up north with freezing readings in the east, 20 to 30 degrees below average this week. Brace for it, more snow is on the way.

Let's get over to meteorologist, Indra Petersons. It's changed very quickly just over the past couple days - Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Having to deliver such bad news, Kate. I mean, that sounds horrible. Yes, once again, we are talking about all those cold air. If you're seeing the purples, the pinks and blues, that's where the cold arctic air is once again diving down to the upper Midwest into the northeast.

You are dealing with these cool temperatures. We were talking about windchill advisories again. Northern plains, upper Midwest, what are we talking about, temperatures well below normal.

Here's what it feels like out there. Indianapolis, 6 degrees. Chicago right now, feels like almost 10 below as you wake up. I wouldn't want to go outside. Unfortunately, it's only going to be getting worse each day.

We are still talking about that arctic air diving farther down to the south. Look at these departures, Chicago today, your high is 20. That's a good 20 below even average. By tomorrow, it gets worse.

We are talking about temperatures 30 degrees below average. Even down to the southeast. We are talking about temperatures 10, 15 degrees below average. Northeast, same thing.

By Thursday, notice we're not changing. It's getting colder in the upper Midwest. We are talking about 30 to 35 degrees below average where highs are in single digits, if not below zero. Unbelievable.

And that does not even include the windchill there. The other story today, some flurries are already out there in the Ohio Valley, Indianapolis, that's going to be making its way up into the northeast. Not looking for a lot, maybe a couple of flurries out there. Again, less than an inch, but cold, windy and getting colder.

BOLDUAN: Hope you didn't put those winter jackets away yet. Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Science is part of the problem. One, you're too chipper when you're talking about all this misery. Two, you use happy colors on the map, which should be all shades of gray.

PETERSONS: I would like to just rewind four months. I have embraced it. Just want to let you know. See.

CUOMO: All right, we have new details this morning about big cuts proposed to the military. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined the cuts that would trim staffing and benefits from the Pentagon.

Now, the thought was to cut fat and tailor changes to highlight smaller, elite operation. Many now worry that the knife has gone into the muscle and bone including governors and member of Congress who have to approve the reduction. CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr has more - Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Well, you know, the Pentagon was going to ask Congress for $541 billion in spending. Now they're going to ask for just $496 billion.


STARR (voice-over): Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is making one thing clear. Nearly 13 years of war footing is over.

CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: After Iraq and Afghanistan, we are no longer sizing the military to conduct long and large stability operations.

STARR: The Pentagon will now focus more on special operations, cyber war and high tech weapons. But Hagel knows it's a tough sell. Some will object on national security grounds. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsay Graham tweeted, "This is another damn idea. The Obama administration is disconnected from the realities of the world.

HAGEL: You have fewer troops, fewer ships, fewer planes, it is not the same standard. Of course, there's going to be risk.

STARR: Already governors are reacting to proposed cuts in their National Guard forces. Many of their troops are combat veterans from war.

GOVERNOR TERRY BRANSTAD (R), IOWA: We think that they are very important to the national defense of this country as well as to helping us in times of emergencies in our individual state.

STARR: Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's husband is in the National Guard. He recently returned from a one-year deployment to Afghanistan. GOVERNOR NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It is a slap in the face to anyone who has served over this past decade multiple times unless there are life to do this.

STARR: Among the key proposed cuts, downsizing the Army from 520,000 soldiers to around 440,000, the smallest since 1940. Key programs like the Air Force U2 spy plane will be replaced by drones, the A-10 water hog by a new fighter jet.

But perhaps the most controversial proposal slowing the rate of pay increases, trimming housing allowances and cutting subsidies to commissaries. Congress is likely to object to all of that.


STARR: There's the $52 billion a year military health care system. Hagel is proposing new measures that would encourage military personnel to use the most low cost part of that system, low cost providers and task military retirees to pay just a little bit more as the Pentagon says for their health care and of course, Congress and the military is likely to object to almost all of that.

BOLDUAN: All right, Barbara, thank you very much. We'll here much more from Senator John McCain on this very issue a little later on in the show.

But to Russia now where President Vladimir Putin has no time to ravel in his overall success of the Sochi Winter Games, why? He already faces the next big challenge, what to do about neighboring Ukraine. The acting president there is now delaying the formation of a new interim unity government until Thursday.

Senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, joins us once again from Kiev with the very latest. What do we hear now, Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the issue today really, how does this country get itself back on its feet? It needs $35 billion it says. It wants them from the United States or from Europe. It has the Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns coming here with treasury officials.

But that sum of money is simply not going to come as fast as the country wants and parliament now racing to get itself together to a point to prime minister. They set the decision back two-days and many wondering quite how long the protesters behind me will tolerate not getting this country moving fast enough.


WALSH (voice-over): A manhunt under way this morning for Ukraine's ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, who remains on the run. Ukraine's most wanted man now charged with ordering the mass murder of protesters on the streets of Kiev last week.

Independent Square now transformed into a memorial. Ukraine's opposition putting on a diplomatic show of force forming the beginnings of their interim government. A regime change that Russia scoffed at.

Russia's prime minister prodding the already shaking foundation and the fragile economy teetering on the brink of bankruptcy declaring the new government is not legitimate saying it's a threat to Russia's citizens.

Russia says western countries are wrong to view the upheaval as a true changing of the guard decrying what they perceived to be the west geopolitical motivations.

MICHAEL MCFAUL, U.N. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: That imagery, you know, kind of 18th Century balance of power politics, just doesn't work in the 21st century. It's not the proper framework for any country that wants to make their citizens more prosperous and secure.

WALSH: Russia's foreign ministry is calling protesters against the police militant thugs and saying the west is encouraging extreme mist actions and methods of dictatorship and terror.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is not a competition between east and west. This is not a restoration of the cold war. This is about the Ukrainian people and their future.


WALSH: Michaela, really, many in the crowd here expecting progress fast. The parliament is all over the place. Just having asked the International Criminal Court to come in and try and investigate the deaths of the past few days. Even wondering where is Viktor Yanukovych.

There is in fact bizarre speculation in a pro-Kremlin newspaper in Moscow. In fact the Americans are hiding him. A lot of confusion here as people try to piece together what has happened. But above all, Ukrainians now wanting their government to get their act together and get their country back on their feet after the sacrifices in the square behind me. Back to you, Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right, Nick, we'll continue to piece it together with you. Thank you so much for that.

Let's take a look at other headlines now. Breaking news from the waters near Antarctica. A South Korean fishing boat is now stranded with 90 people on board. That ship apparently struck the ocean floor. The Chilean Navy has now launched a rescue mission. Everyone on board is said to be safe.

Joaquin El Chapo Guzman and put him on trial in the U.S. court, well, they appear to be hold that's because Mexican authorities have formally charged him with cocaine trafficking. A Mexican judge will decide today whether to try him there. Guzman's lawyers have already filed a petition asking the Mexican courts to block any extradition request from the U.S.

Attorney General Eric Holder entering the same-sex marriage race saying state attorneys general are not obligated to negate laws that they consider discriminatory. But the president of the bipartisan National Association of Attorneys General who is a Republican says Holder should not tell state attorneys general how to do their job. Six state attorneys general, all Democrats, have refused to defend bans on same-sex marriage.

Stunning video to show you of a death collapse in Indiana. Look at this. It sent 24 people plummeting more than a story to the ground. It happened at a Christmas party back in December. It was caught on surveillance video. That family is now suing the deck builder and the people that run the clubhouse where the party was held. Three of the injured are still not able to walk according to the family.

This morning, Hollywood is mourning the loss of a comedy legend. Harold Ramis, an actor. He is a writer, a director. His resume includes dozens of blockbuster films including "Animal House" and "Caddyshack," but for a lot of us, he'll always be Dr. Egon Spengler.


HAROLD RAMIS: I have a radical idea. The door swings both ways.


RAMIS: We'll cross the street.


PEREIRA: He died in Chicago Monday. He had been suffering from a rare autoimmune disease. He was 69 years old. A terrific life and career. We'll have much more on all of it a little later in the show.

BOLDUAN: I looked back yesterday. I took a moment to look back at some of the famous clips from his best of. My favorite movies are movies that he either directed, wrote, or were in. "Stripes" is one of my all-time favorites. "Groundhog Day" I think that defines many of us. It is a true loss. He was - he was a comedic giant and a quiet man.

CUOMO: Yes and so young.

PEREIRA: Sixty nine.

CUOMO: So young. What a loss.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, we're going to talk about the fate of a controversial bill that would allow business owners to deny service to gay people. Will Arizona Governor Jan Brewer veto this bill? She talks to CNN about here decision.

CUOMO: Also talk about controversy. A CNN exclusive, wait until you hear what Ted Nugent says is an apology to the president. Remember he called the commander-in-chief, a subhuman mongrel. Erin Burnett held him to account. Have we finally hit bottom in politics? I hope so.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

More protests are expected today in Arizona over a new bill to allow business owners to deny services to gays in the name of religion. It's now on the desk of Governor Jan Brewer. But there is a rising chorus of opposition, including three state legislators who initially supported the bill and now want the governor to veto it.

CNN's Miguel Marquez has been on the ground. He has the details.



MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Voices here growing louder by the day. People from all walks of life coming out in loud opposition to Arizona's SB-1062.

ANDREA EMERSON, PROTESTER: We believe in equal rights. We're all human beings. We deserve the same rights.

MARQUEZ: The fear the bill will empower business owners holding deep religious beliefs to deny services to gays and lesbians.

The legislation now on Governor Jan Brewer's desk. Our Dana Bash spoke with her exclusively.

GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: I will make my decision in the near future.

MARQUEZ: Now a full-court press against the bill. Both Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake joining a chorus of business leaders from across the state, urging Brewer to veto.

(on camera): What was the reaction of your board members to this proposal?

TODD SANDERS, CEO, PHOENIX CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Overwhelmingly they asked for us to go down and request that the governor veto this legislation.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Most shockingly, three state senators that voted for 1062 just last week now say that was a mistake.

SEN. STEVE PIERCE (R), ARIZONA: We want to correct something we did. It isn't good for the state, especially if you look around and see the negative publicity.

MARQUEZ: Supporters of the bill say it's aim, to protect religious rights by broadening its definition and reach, not denying others their rights.

Maia Arenson owns a Christian-based business.

MAIA ARENSON, OWNER, CHRISTIAN BUSINESS NETWORK: We want to find a way hopefully through something like this bill to be able to have it where everyone is respected for their religion and faith. MARQUEZ: Much hangs in balance. The NFL now saying it is following the debate over the controversial bill and waiting on any decision about its possible impact on next year's Super Bowl that will take place right here.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Phoenix.


CUOMO: All right. Our thanks to Miguel for that.

Now, Michael Sam, you know him, he's on the historic quest to become the first NFL player who was openly gay. Well, his little quest hit a snag at a combine yesterday. He had a rough day.

Let's bring in Andy Scholes with this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Now, fair disclosure, Andy, yes, there's a lot of hype around his disclosure, and his strength there. But he wasn't supposed to be a knockout star de combine, right?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes, that's right. You know, before the combine, Michael Sam was projected to be a mid to late-round pick in May's NFL draft. But, you know, some are saying he definitely did not help that projection with his performance yesterday. Sam ran a disappointing 4.91 40-yard dash. And he also struggled in the wait room and in the moving drills.

Now, while Sam did not impress, Jadeveon Clowney sure did. The 6'5", 255-pound defensive end ran a 4.53 40-yard dash, which is just insane for a man his size. Look at Warren Sapp's reaction to that. Now, Clowney, he's expected to be a top three pick in the draft.

All right. Trending on this morning, Knicks versus Mavs. Tied at 108 with time winding down, Carmelo Anthony teeing up Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk throws up the shot, and it bounces around, and goes in at buzzer. Mavs beat the Knicks 110-108. That right there may be the nail in the coffin in the Knicks' miserable season.

And Dirk's winner game-winner not the end of the bad news for the Knicks. Point guard Raymond Felton was arrested earlier this morning on three counts of criminal possession of a weapon. "The New York Post" is reporting that Felton allegedly point add gun at a woman. Among the charges for Felton are second and third degree criminal position for a firearm which are both felonies.

Guys, this comes five years after a giant wide receiver Plaxico Burress was sentenced to two years in prison after accidentally shooting himself at a Manhattan nightclub. So, we know one thing, New York has very strict gun laws.

BOLDUAN: Andy, we were debating and we can't think of this. Who did Clowney play for?

SCHOLES: South Carolina Gamecocks.

BOLDUAN: South Carolina. OK.

CUOMO: Is he the biggest and fastest ever? Is he bigger and faster than Javan Course (ph)?

SCHOLES: Yes, people are -- yes, they did run faster and they're saying he's just a freak of nature.

Guys, full disclosure: I'm Houston Texans fan, I'll be happy if he's wearing a Texans uniform next season.

BOLDUAN: It's very kind of you. We're not rooting for you. We either wanted to be a Jet or he will be sacking your boy Andrew Luck every week, every Sunday next year.

CUOMO: There's no objectivity. There's no fairness.

BOLDUAN: I thought we were friends. I thought we were starting the New Year on a new foot. It all went away.

CUOMO: He's lobbying for his own team. He's bad mouthing the Knicks, which we all know is a federal crime.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it is. We're done with the Andy Scholes and we're done with this segment.

Let's take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY: we're going to talk about Ted Nugent on the record. Is he ever off the record? It doesn't seem like it matters.

And a CNN exclusive, he's responding to what he said about the president to our own Erin Burnett. We're going to bring you the dramatic conversation, if you want to call it, ahead.

CUOMO: We'll get our Erin's face (ph). What you think the thought --


CUOMO: Also, fast food battle over breakfast. What the restaurants are doing to try to get you in the door on your way to work. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, can I help you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'd like a ham and cheese wamlet (ph) and lamb fries --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry. We stopped serving breakfast, but we are on the lunch menu now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want breakfast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't have it. We're not serving it.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Let's take a look at your headlines at half past the hour.

Doctors in California admit they have no idea what's causing a polio- like illness that's now stricken up to two dozen children. The average age of the victims is 12. All of them are suffering from paralysis in one or more of their limbs. Health officials suspect some kind of virus, and are asking doctors around the nation to report any similar cases immediately.

Now to new developments from Ukraine this morning. Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov delaying the appointment of a unity government until Thursday. In the meantime, the search continues for ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. The Russian President Vladimir Putin is under pressure from the West to not overreach over Ukraine. U.S. warning it would be a mistake to intervene militarily.

Opposition leaders pushing for a fight in Venezuela. The Henrique Capriles who's been leading the revolt refused to show up for a meeting with President Nicolas Maduro. And the peace conference plan for tomorrow is now in doubt. The state governor, a Maduro ally, has now broken ranks and challenged the president's tactics. Weeks of violence have reportedly left dozens dead.

Breaking news from South Africa, where a judge just ruled in South Africa that cameras will be allowed into the murder trial for Olympic Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius, but only for part of the trial.

Pistorius will go on trial March 3rd, in the shooting death of his girlfriend at his home. He insists it was an accident.

In North Dakota, a World War II vet is having a 90th birthday like no other. Last month, Harold Kruger lost his wife of 63 years. As his birthday neared, his daughter took to Facebook asking some of their friends to send her dad a card, maybe to cheer him up. Well, that post was shared hundreds of times over.

Look at that. Thousands of letters came pouring in, wishing Harold well and thanking him for his service.

I'm wishing him a happy birthday.

BOLDUAN: What birthday again?

CUOMO: Ninetieth.

BOLDUAN: That's special.

PEREIRA: How about that? Well done, daughter.

CUOMO: Sneaking in a little good stuff there in the news.

PEREIRA: Well, I've got to sometimes. CUOMO: All right. We have a CNN exclusive for you this morning. Ted Nugent speaking out to Erin Burnett. The combative rocker under fire, of course, for calling President Obama a "subhuman mongrel".