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Arizona Governor Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill; Gunmen Seize Ukraine Parliament Building; Top U.S. General's Grim Warning; Winter Misery Affects Millions; Clinton Paving Way for 2016 Run?; North Korea Fires Missiles

Aired February 27, 2014 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. JAN BREWER, (R) ARIZONA: I have vetoed Senate bill 1062.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Vetoed. Arizona's governor rejects the controversial so-called religious rights bill, but now other states may try to pass their own version. This is about more than a law and we take on the debate. We're also live with the latest.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, violence in Ukraine as armed supporters of Russia (INAUDIBLE) a parliament building there. Now, Vladimir Putin is launching military exercises nearby as the U.S. want him to stay out.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Major makeover for the nutrition labels we all rely on for the foods we eat each day. What you need to know and will serving sizes now actually match up with how much we eat?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY" starts right now.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, February 27th, 6:00 in the East.

An Arizona's so-called religious rights bill is dead for now, but the debate is certainly heating up. Governor Jan Brewer finally vetoed a measure that touched off a national firestorm. It would have allowed business owners to refuse to serve gays and others on the basis of a substantial burden to religious belief. Brewer cited several reasons in doing this. The lack of need under the law in Arizona and also her fear of unintended consequences.

Let's get more from Ana Cabrera live in Phoenix -- Ana.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. The governor's office said it received more than 40,000 e-mails and phone calls over the last couple of days that had to do with this bill that would have opened the door to discrimination. It caused a lot of her in divisiveness, not just here in Arizona, but really across the country. In the end, the governor said she did what she had to do.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOVERNOR JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: After weighing all of the arguments, I have vetoed Senate bill 1062 moments ago.

CABRERA (voice-over): It was the news so many had hoped to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am absolutely thrilled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happiness. It's about time. I knew she was going to do it.

CABRERA: Arizona's governor, Jan Brewer, vetoing a bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians based on the owner's religious beliefs.

BREWER: I call them like I see them, despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd.

CABRERA: The governor says the bill was broadly worded with the potential to create more problems than it could solve.

BREWER: I have not heard of one example in Arizona where business owner's religious liberty had been violated.

MICHAEL MCFALL, PROTESTED BILL 1062: If she had signed it, I was going to move my business to California.

CABRERA: The reaction to her veto as passionate as the days of protesting that catapulted this bill and the state into the national spotlight. The decision came as opposition reached the fever pitch. With some of the nation's most prominent lawmakers and business leaders joining the fight. The NFL was watching closely and the Arizona Super Bowl host committee for 2015 expressed concerns.

DARLENE MARTINEZ, PROTESTED BILL 1062: She didn't want to be known as the governor who lost the Super Bowl.

CABRERA: But not everyone was happy with the decision.

RUSSELL PEARCE (R), STATE SENATOR: I will not retreat because of some radical leftist activists don't like how we do things in Arizona.

CABRERA: The governor answering her critics with a call for unity.

BREWER: Going forward, let's turn the ugliness at the debate over Senate bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among all Arizonans and Americans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Arizona is not alone. Right now, there are a handful of states that have looked at or trying to pass similar legislation. In fact right now in Georgia, there's a measure moving through the Georgia state house that would allow private businesses to ignore certain state laws on the basis of religious believes. Now again that bill is one that we're watching. Supporters there say that there is a fight again to preserve religious freedoms while critics say that this bill a largely aimed at denying services for gays and lesbians -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Ana, and on that point that this is a developing trend, the Arizona decision comes the same day a federal judge struck down a ban on same sex marriage in Texas. But the judge said the state can continue to enforce the ban pending an appeal because it could reach the Supreme Court.

The law seems to be moving in one direction, but they have question, the fundamental question of, is gay OK, continues to be something our society struggles with.

BOLDUAN: Also breaking development out of Ukraine this morning. The conflict is building as a parliament building is now in the hands of gunmen. Police have been ordered to surround the facility located in the southern region of the country, an area known for its strong ties to Russia. This comes as Russia is flexing its muscle along the border that it shares with Ukraine sending troops there for military exercises.

That also escalation also escalating tension between the two countries and the U.S. pleading for restraint. CNN's Phil Black is joining us now with the very latest. Definitely doesn't seem to be calming down. Phil, what's the very latest?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not at all, Kate, good morning. These pro-Russian governments stormed a local parliamentary building in this region known as the Crimea before dawn. They are said to be heavily armed with automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades. They are very much in control and they are refusing to negotiate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLACK (voice-over): This morning, around 50 pro-Russian gunmen seized the parliament building in Crimea raising the Russian flag. This just a day after tensions boiled over in the Ukraine's black sea border with Russia. Pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian protesters facing up. At least seven people injured in the demonstrations despite police presence. Some fear this domestic unrest could possibly signal the beginning of international war games.

The violence is erupting on the southern tip of Ukraine here in the Crimea, just a few hundred miles from Russia. The dispute, many in the Western Ukraine want the area to have closer ties with Europe. While in the east, an area that belong to Russia until the 1950s some now want to rejoin the Soviet Union roots.

Pro-Russian militias are stationing troops and even an armored vehicle near the border as Russia launches surprise military exercises. Up to half a dozen warships are now at the ready in the Black Sea, a defensive more according to U.S. military officials. But the U.S. is sounding the alarm against outside players. In an interview on MSNBC's "Mitchell Reports," Secretary of State John Kerry warned Putin that this should not be a continuation of cold war games.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We do not believe this should be an east, west, Russia, United States, this is not "Rocky Four," believe me.

BLACK: Meanwhile, in the capital of Kiev, pro-western protesters cut down the fence surrounding that parliament building demanding they be close to the people. A strong show of force in pursuit of a new Ukraine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACK: Not far from this occupied parliament building in the Crimea, Russia laces a large naval base. It is the home of its Black See fleet. Today, the new Ukrainian government has said that if any Russian military personnel leave that facility, the Ukrainian government will interpret that as an act of aggression. Chris, back to you.

CUOMO: It's getting more complicated, not less. Phil Black, thank you for that.

New fears also in Afghanistan as the U.S. speeds up plans for a full troop withdrawal. President Obama is telling Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a security deal to keep troops in place after 2014 or the U.S. is pulling out, but it's not so simple.

Well, back here, the idea of bringing the troops home sounds great. The top American military officer says a full withdrawal could embolden the Taliban. CNN's Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon. Tricky situation, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Tricky indeed, Chris. Good morning. General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff back here in Washington this morning arriving from Afghanistan where he told reporters that this notion of a zero option, a full U.S. withdrawal.

Even the talk about it may embolden the Taliban that some intelligence is already supporting the notion that Afghan security forces, which the U.S. has been working with may decide to reach an accommodation, if you will, with the Taliban, essentially partnering up with the Taliban, not fighting them as they are supposed to be doing because the U.S. is leaving.

And Afghan forces feel that maybe where they need to cast their lot. I have to tell you, I've already spoken to some U.S. troops. I spoke to one U.S. combat veteran of Afghanistan yesterday. He said, look, if he was back there on the line, he said he'd be carrying two sets of weapons right now.

The concern is as this winds down, you have the last U.S. troops in there. You have the last U.S. rotation in there. Afghan forces getting closer to the Taliban. U.S. forces feeling more vulnerable -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. That's a serious warning coming from Dempsey this morning. Thank you so much, Barbara. Thanks very much.

This is just the arctic air that just won't stay away. It loves us just too much. Much of the country bracing for not one but two jolts of bitter cold. Temperatures plunging to record lows. We are still hitting records in some places.

Over the next few days, parts of the plains in the Midwest could see temperatures up to 30 degrees below normal. Also the drought stricken west is finally getting some rain. It should sound like good news, but it may be just too much too fast. It is threatening right now flash floods and landslides there. Indra Petersons is tracking all of it for us with the very latest this morning Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I keep hearing the word, it has been a miserable winter. Well, now, we can officially say it has been. Detroit, the first worst miserable winter since we've been keeping records. Look at all these other cities, Chicago, Indianapolis, Philly, New York, Minneapolis. I can go on and on, and unfortunately only more cold air and even another big snowstorm still headed our way.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETERSONS (voice-over): For much of the country, February is ending on a low note as another arctic blast brings subzero temperatures to the Midwest and sinks temperatures below the freezing mark as far south as Florida. Just look at this ice jam on Illinois Kankakee River. Miles of thick broken ice have stopped the river from flowing. Residents fearing what will happen when all of this ice melts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's when the water is going to come up like a backed up toilet. The ice is going to come up and take out everything in its path.

PETERSONS: The seemingly never ending bouts of the bitter cold and life threatening windchills have been among the worst on record. A new index tracking weather extremes confirms it. It's dubbed the misery index and for good reason. The National Weather Service says Detroit is the hardest hit this season with more than 78 inches of snow and 13 days of lows below zero.

New York, Philadelphia and Chicago also reign high on the misery list for record snow fall and freezing temps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This really has been one of the worst winters in a lot of people's lifetimes. We haven't seen winters like this since the 70s in a lot of places.

PETERSONS: On the west coast, a very different picture. Over the next two days, torrential rain will finally make a dent in California's severe drought, the state's worst in 100 years. But the downpours could create more problems than relief. Flash floods and mud slides are a big concern with as much as six inches of rain in the forecast.

All eyes on the skies as Hollywood's biggest names prepare to walk down the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

PETERSONS (on-camera): Now, here's what it feels like again this morning. It looks like this winter continues to be miserable out there. Deluth right now, feels like 42 below zero. And this windchill, these windchill advisories are only spreading farther to the East, were expected in the northeast tonight. We're gonna be talking about record low temperatures where windchills will be below zero overnight by tomorrow morning.

New York City will feel like negative four, Boston like seven below by tomorrow. Even the afternoon highs not even better. We're talking about 30 below averages. For your afternoon highs, single digits for Chicago, Minneapolis, at zero. New York City just sitting at that freezing mark.

By tomorrow, again, that cold air spreads even farther to the east, so 30s go down to 20s for New York City. D.C. just to the freezing mark at 33. And unfortunately, as you go through the weekend, big concerns Saturday, light flurries.

But by Sunday night in through Monday, watch this system kind of come out of the south and spread into the northeast. This guy, potentially, could bring another huge winter storm right back to the east coast. So we'll be tracking that carefully looking to see whether or not once again we'll be talking about major snow in addition to these sub-zero temperatures.

Tough, tough.

BOLDUAN: Big snow question mark. Keep the question mark.

PETERSONS: Right, I'm gonna try.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

PEREIRA: All right, let's take a look at some of your headlines right now.

Breaking news out of Oakland, California. Passengers had to be rushed off a Delta Sky West flight in Los Angeles after smelling smoke in the cabin. The smell was first noticed just after landing. The captain was able to bring the jet to the gate. Passengers walked down the stairs off the plane. Authorities could not find the source of the smell.

The Justice Department wants to hold onto telephone records collected by the NSA beyond what the law allows. Right now, they're supposed to be destroyed after five years. But government attorneys say they need them stored longer in some cases for evidence in lawsuits they're facing. The Justice Department is asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to extend the five-year deadline. In Venezuela, more protest likely today now that opposition leaders have backed out of peace talks at the last minute saying they doubted the government would take the negotiations seriously. Government officials accused the opposition of being more interested in politics than in peace. More than a dozen people have been killed, many more injured, over the past few weeks. Protesters there upset with high crime rates, inflation and other problems.

It appears brain disease could now be a problem for soccer players. Patrick Grange of Albuquerque is now the first soccer player diagnosed with CTE. It's a condition more commonly associated with violent collisions seen in football and boxing. Most head collisions in soccer, of course, come from heading the ball, something Grange's parents say he did frequently before he died last year.

Have you felt a little more crowded in the galaxy lately? I know I've been kind of feeling it. NASA announcing the discovery of 715 new planets. That's why, guys. Almost doubling the 1,000 planets that have already been identified. All were discovered during the first two years that Kepler a space telescope has been in operation. Four of the newly discovered planets are in NASA's habitable zone, meaning they have the conditions to potentially support life, not too cold, not too hot, for water to -

BOLDUAN: Seven hundred and fifteen new planets?

PEREIRA: You felt it, right? They're called exoplanets because they're outside our solar planet. I'm here to teach and learn and share.

BOLDUAN: What was the additional title that we gave you a while back?

PEREIRA: Nerd alert? I don't know. What was it?

BOLDUAN: We gave her - I gave her a new title.

CUOMO: Nothing I care to repeat.

BOLDUAN: Chief space correspondent. You were not there.

CUOMO: I feel like we're always hearing, like, oh, there could be life here. There could be life there.

PEREIRA: Is this a conspiracy?

CUOMO: And then -

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I can't believe that we haven't found life anywhere else. I just don't get it.

PEREIRA: I think you need to go and do a live report --

CUOMO: I should. I'll be back in 19 years.

PEREIRA: -- from the exoplanets.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: And in the last 20 years, they've made all these because of the increased visibility (ph) with the Kepler et cetera. It's amazing.

CUOMO: I think we haven't discovered anything yet. I think they're just scratching it. When you talk to Neil DeGrasse Tyson - we have him on every once in a while - he's like, "We don't even know what we don't know."

PEREIRA: We're due for a visit from him.

BOLDUAN: Don't say that.

CUOMO: What do you know? Coming up on NEW DAY, the highest polls yet that say Democrats want Hillary Clinton to run. So did she make her case at this big event in Miami last night? Listen and see if she's your choice. We're live there for you.

BOLDUAN: And what's in your food? I know you wonder this. The government is announcing this morning they will big changes to those nutrition labels on much of what you buy. Is it going to make it any clearer or it just going to add to the confusion already? We have the details coming up.

CUOMO: They should make the print bigger.

BOLDUAN: That's part of it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Some think so, right?

New speculation this morning that Hillary Clinton will throw her hat into the 2016 presidential campaign. She hasn't said she will yet, of course. If you heard her speech last night, you'd think she might really be thinking of running for office.

Our senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar is joining us from Miami with all the details.

What's your take, Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, you know, forgive us for almost feeling last night like this was a presidential election year. You could hear Hillary Clinton flushing out the themes of a possible stump speech, inclusion and participation for women and younger Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR (voice-over): Right off the top of her remarks here at the University of Miami, she weighed in on the hot topic of the day --

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Thankfully, the governor of Arizona has vetoed the discriminatory --

(CHEERS)

CLINTON: -- legislation that was passed recognizing that inclusive leadership is really what the 21st century is all about.

KEILAR: Praising Governor Jan Brewer for striking down a bill that would have allowed companies to refuse services to gay patrons.

She also talked health care.

CLINTON: There's been so many misconceptions about what's in the Affordable Care Act.

KEILAR: In an earlier speech in Orlando, Clinton proposed fixes to Obamacare. But here in Miami, she pitched the thousand of students in the audience on the importance of signing up.

CLINTON: If you want to go try your hand at film-making or be an Internet artist, you will have the opportunity now to do that without assuming disproportionately the risk that something could happen to you or when you're married or have children, to your families.

KEILAR: Clinton leads the pack of Democrats considering a 2016 bid. A new poll by "The New York Times" and CBS News finds that 82 percent of Democrats want her to run. Clinton is ramping up her public speaking engagements, allowing her to advance her narrative as Republicans take aim.

GOP critics are seizing on news that many of the documents from Bill Clinton's presidency, possibly including interactions with his wife have not been released, even though they were supposed to by law more than a year ago. The National Archives telling CNN 33,000 papers from the Clinton White House will be released in late March.

CLINTON: It is great being here.

KEILAR: But here in the pivotal swing state of Florida, Hillary Clinton was all about looking forward. And so was this crowd. One student's question, what does the TBD in her Twitter profile mean?

Clinton demurred with a nod to her social media-savvy audience.

CLINTON: Well, I'd really like to. But I have no characters left.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: Now, Clinton has said she will make her decision known by the end of this year. But for the Democrats who are trailing so far behind her in the polls, Chris and Kate, it can't come soon enough.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Brianna. Great to see you. Thanks so much. We'll see you soon.

CUOMO: All right. So, how about this? Not one but two college basketball games decided with the last-second shot. To tell us about it, Joe Carter is here. He's got the video in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Joe, this is good stuff.

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: It is. Good morning, guys.

Kind of remind me of the tournament. As a matter of fact, the big tournament starts in about two and a half weeks for those that are excited for college hoops. The first great finish in the Michigan- Purdue game. In over time, Michigan star player Glenn Robinson III gets the buzzer beater to fall, Michigan wins 77-76. You know, on that same floor 20 years ago, his father was an all American at Purdue. So, you know that burns the boiler makers.

Another great finish between two in-state rivals, UNC-NC State. These two schools do not like each other. the Tar Heels' Marcus Paige drops a last-second lay-up. UNC trailed for most of this game but came back to win in thrilling fashion, 85-84.

NFL news, according to a CBS sports report, Jonathan Martin's agents met with the Miami Dolphins at the NFL combine. The Dolphins expressed interest in keeping Martin, but Martin's agents says his client isn't comfortable returning to Miami.

Martin's teammate at Stanford and now Colt's quarterback Andrew Luck was asked in an interview if he'd like arrest Martin on his Indianapolis team. Luck said he'd be in favor of it 100 percent and Martin is a great man.

Trending this morning on bleacherreport.com, we know that NFL teams ask a lot of questions to draft prospects during the interview process at the NFL combine, but here's a new one. What team do you choose when you play Madden, the football video game?

These questions can sometimes border the creepy zone, dare I say.

Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles said that several teams asked him about his now Internet-famous girlfriend. They wanted to know if she would be around if team officials visited him in Florida and if she'd, quote, "Be there for dinner and stuff like that", unquote.

Now, if you Google the couple, over 14 million results come up. Move over, AJ McCarron and Katherine Webb. This is now the new it couple in college sports.

BOLDUAN: That is creepy.

CARTER: A little bit. You know, they ask a lot of intrusive questions in that interview process, obviously, because the investment they're about to make in some of these guys --

BOLDUAN: What do you gain from that? What does that tell us about the player?

CARTER: That's a great question. That's where he said it borders creepy.

BOLDUAN: I can even cover sports.

CUOMO: Oh, yes, you could cover anything. The question is, are they getting it covered, because they wind up making lots of bad decisions about who they let in the league, right? So, maybe they should talk a little bit less about the girlfriends --

CARTER: And more about the players.

BOLDUAN: Do you have a pick for the tournament yet?

CARTER: I don't. Whatever I pick, please go opposite, because I definitely out -- I bracket bust like week two usually.

BOLDUAN: Ah, good to know. So, we will be talking about brackets. That will be part of my strategy.

CUOMO: Trivia question of the morning, what was Glenn Robinson's nickname back when he played, Joe?

CARTER: You're killing me. I was like 13.

CUOMO: Now, it's got to be an age thing?

BOLDUAN: Tell us, old man. Tell us.

CUOMO: I'll leave it up to Twitter. We'll see who knows.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Joe.

CUOMO: Tweet us.

BOLDUAN: Tweet us.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, breaking this morning, a new change announced this morning to the nutrition labels you see in grocery stores. But will the changes really make it easier for you to eat healthy? Will it help you or make it more confusing? We're going to look at it.

CUOMO: Also, Congress has been hearing from stars lately. Ben Affleck, Seth Rogen were on the Hill, fighting for their causes. Do boldfaced names make for more bold change? What do you think? We're going to dig into it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's take a look at your headlines.

Breaking news: the South Korean defense ministry telling "Reuters" North Korea has now fired short range missiles off its east coast towards the sea. Unclear right now if this was a test. North Korea has fired test missiles in that area in the past. Also, breaking, dozens of gunmen have seized a parliament building in the southern part of Ukraine. The Russian flag is now flying there and people are being told to stay away as police cordoned off the area.

In the meantime, Russia is showing its military strength along the border with Ukraine, sending in thousands of troops for military drills.

The U.S. is telling Russian President Vladimir Putin to be cautious.

Back here at home, Arizona's governor vetoing a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse to serve gays on religious grounds. The proposal touched off a national firestorm. Governor Jan Brewer says she shot down the measure because it was too broadly worded and that she feared negative and unintended consequences.

Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez has now been reportedly isolated inside a Massachusetts jail.