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Debris Near Australia Could Be Flight 370; Obama: No Troops In Ukraine; Obama Tweaks "Moderate" Scott Brown

Aired March 20, 2014 - 07:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan, joining you from Kuala Lumpur. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

Let's get you up to date on this morning's breaking developments in the search for Malaysia flight 370.

Australian officials say two objects -- two object by -- that were seen by satellite in the southern Indian Ocean could be debris from the aircraft. They were picked up a few days ago and are being analyzed. Four search planes headed almost 1,500 miles off the coast of Perth, roughly the distance from New York to Dallas, desperately hoping to see something in the water.

But the first crew couldn't see much thanks to some limited visibility because of rain and clouds. That weather is making it tough for the other planes along with the lack of daylight now, which is dwindling off Western Australia. Still, if this debris is from Flight 370, it would indicate the plane went a long way in the air.

This search is about 3,000 miles south of Kuala Lumpur, which is where that flight took off. That is more than half way to Antarctica. We have more -- we'll have more in just a few minutes. But first, let's get back to New York -- Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Kate, thanks so much for that. Let's get inside politics with all the news from the world of politics with our friend, John King. Good morning to you, my friend.


PEREIRA: We got a similar memo on the purple today. Apparently, first day of spring, I guess.

KING: Purple is good. Yes, we'll keep the rest of the morning dressed in bright happy purple and we'll keep an eye on the breaking news and get back to you guys as soon as necessary if there are new developments. Let's talk about things driving our day inside politics today. Let's start with some foreign policy.

With me to share their reporting and their insights, Julie Pace of the "Associated Press" and Juana Summers of "Politico." Let's start with foreign policy. The president is doing these interviews around the country largely to promote enrollment in health care.

He is trying to drive especially young people to sign up as the deadline approaches, but he was asked with a San Diego affiliate, KNSD, about options when it comes to Ukraine. Listen here as he takes one off the table.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're not going to be getting into a military, you know, excursion in Ukraine. What we are going to do is mobilize all of our diplomatic resources to make sure that we got a strong international coalition that sends a clear message, which is the Ukraine should decide their own destiny.


KING: You covered the White House every day, is there a worry there that if you take that option off the table you're essentially conceding? Putin wins, he gets Crimea?

JULIE PACE, "ASSOCIATED PACE": Well, I think by the military option off the table, what they are doing is reflecting where the American people are. The American people do not want to get into a military incursion anywhere in the world right now. But this does crystallize the problem for the White House, which is you've already levied economic sanctions. They haven't had an impact. You have taken a military option off the table. What is in that space between those two options? Frankly, there's just not a lot there.

KING: You hear the words facts on the ground, which diplomats say he's there. The Russian military is there. Is their goal publicly is to get him out? But is their real goal to keep him from moving further?

JUANA SUMMERS, "POLITICO": I think that's a great point. What I'm hearing Republicans on Capitol Hill is what you're seeing the president said right now is going to contribute to this narrative that Obama is retreating from a global stage. He is making America weaker, not stronger. What you're seeing right now is going to a big political issue that Republicans are going to talk on as we are looking to 2014 and ahead to 2016.

KING: You mentioned 2016, a potential Democratic candidate is the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She gave a speech in New York yesterday to a Jewish organization. She wants some credit for getting Iran to the bargaining table. But listen here. The president is trying to cut a deal to get Iran to dismantle its nuclear program. Hillary Clinton, a skeptic.


HILARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Now the odds of reaching that comprehensive agreement are not good. President Obama has said that. I'm also personally skeptical that the Iranians would follow- through and deliver. I have seen their behavior over years.


KING: Does it surprise you that she puts her skepticism out there publicly at a time for president and her successor are deeply involved in these negotiations?

SUMMERS: Frankly, I'm not surprised. I think it's a pretty calculated move. If you listen to a lot of Democrats on Capitol Hill familiar with these issues, on the foreign policy, arm services committees, they too are skeptical. This may not be a reliable negotiation. But I have to wonder if you're John Kerry or the current secretary of state, what you are thinking when you hear that speech?

PACE: Here's one thing that is really interesting. Last year when we were reporting that the U.S. and Iran were having secret back channel talks, separate from these international negotiations, people close to Hillary Clinton were telling us, these talks actually started when Clinton was secretary. This is expected to be part of her book. That's going to be coming out later this year. On the one hand, you have her wrapping her arms around the nuclear negotiations and then on the other hand when it looks like they're not going to be fruitful saying, I have all been spectacle about this.

KING: Sounds like a politician. What a shock. Let's move on to another politician. I would say, the most fascinating politician in America today based on what he is trying to do, Rand Paul. The freshman senator for Kentucky, a Tea Party guy, a libertarian like his dad, out at Berkeley known as a liberal bastion. Talking last night to young people, trying to tell them, look, the government spies on you. Surveillance is bad. You should listen to me. But he is also talking about changing the Republican brand. Listen here.


SENATOR RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Republican Party is, I've said they have to either evolve, adapt, or die. You know, it's pretty harsh thing. I think I was telling somebody the other day, remember Dominos finally admitted they had bad crust? I think Republican Party admitted. OK, bad crust. We need a different kind of party.


KING: We need a different kind of party. Now he's been in a bit of a spat with Ted Cruz on a number of issues. But Ted Cruz now says he thinks Rand Paul is trying to move away from anti-abortion views, move away from conservative positions on social issues. You know, in the addition and subtraction of politics, he's trying to reach out to young people. He talks a lot about trying to reach out to minorities saying look at drug laws and sentencing guidelines. Can he keep this together? Does it combust at some point?

PACE: I think Rand Paul is one of the most fascinating candidates. When you look at what he said at Berkeley, the thing that I think is most interesting is he's not trying to convince these groups that are not traditionally Republican voters that they should always have been Republicans. He's trying to convince them that he represents a different party. When you talk about a state like Iowa, can he get the young people in Iowa that came out for Barack Obama to come out for him? That's a possibility. When you go to New Hampshire, they have a libertarian streak there. You can see him doing well there and once he gets on in the race a little bit longer, does the money in the party start to coalesce around him? I think it's possible. I think it would be very difficult but possible.

KING: That's what makes so it interesting. He's the one Republican right now who's playing outside the box. He understands the demographic problem they have. Maybe not it's hard to see the Republican winning a presidential election if they don't do a little better among African-Americans, Latinos, college students, among college educated women, what fascinates you the most about how he's trying to do it?

SUMMERS: I think this Rand Paul revolution on race is really fascinating. You saw a couple of months ago, he spoke to the Howard University and I think a lot of people I spoke to after that speech from the audience said, you know, we felt like he was patronizing and reaching out to African-Americans. Now you see him in Berkeley, he is talking about the first African-American president should have a better eye when it comes to these surveillance practices.

He is coming from an authentic place. Maybe I'm not the natural fit for you but at least give me a shot. I think that is rather smart and a way that many mainstream Republicans frankly aren't looking at pivoting when it comes to racial issues.

KING: And when he was criticized after Howard, he could have walked instead he is trying to go back and learn.

PACE: Absolutely.

KING: Interesting. Let's move on to one more of the interviews the president is giving. This one is with the New England cable network, my home base. He talked about the governor of Massachusetts saying he thinks he has a future on the national stage and he talked about the former Massachusetts senator who now is in New Hampshire exploring running for a New Hampshire senate seat. Listen to President Obama's take on Republican Scott Brown.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'd be happy to, you know, Scott Brown wants to move down to Texas, you know, then we could always use some moderate Republicans in other parts of the country.


KING: Now the president is a big supporter of the Democratic incumbent, but that's what Scott Brown in. That's another Democratic seat that is on the map for Republicans this year. My take on that is Scott Brown has a Republican primary. He's going to now go around saying the president is talking about me. It helps boost him. Yes, Republicans will say you're a moderate. I think from an ego standpoint this is a gift of Scott Brown.

PACE: Sure. You have to remember that Scott Brown has a little place in the Barack Obama history when he won in Massachusetts, he took away that 60 seat super majority that Democrats had that really created a lot of headaches for Obama when he was trying to push health care reform through. So there is a little bit of history there. But also just from our practical standpoint, Obama is looking at the senate and he is looking at another seat possibly being in play. That's not good for the next two years of his presidency.

SUMMER: The Scott Brown party is tweaking him. One of the favorite games to play in Washington. Seeing the president throw a little jab makes it more interesting to watch.

KING: Taking the, quote/unquote, Kennedy seat in Massachusetts was history. But if he can take the Shaheen seat in New Hampshire, that could get you to 60. Juana, Julie, thanks so much for being -- 50, sorry. I'm way ahead of the math there. Michaela, back you to guys following the breaking news. It is an interesting day in politics.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely, John. Thanks for taking us through it. Always appreciate that. No problem at all, my problem. We're going to take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, more on the potential break in the search for Flight 370. It's been 13 days and they've been reviewing satellite data that is now four days old. Is this a breakthrough? It's being called a lead. It could be false hope? We're going to bring you the very latest on NEW DAY.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. This may be the biggest lead so far in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. There are the images. The satellite images showing two objects spotted in the Southern Indian Ocean. Quite a way from Perth, Australia, about 1,500 miles into the deep ocean.

For more about what this might mean for the investigation, we want to bring back in David Soucie, CNN safety analyst and author of "Why Planes Crash" and Les Abend, a 777 pilot and CNN aviation analyst. Good to have you gentlemen with us. It's been sort of this ever evolving story. I want to ask you both first off to give me your gut on this. With this new information, the satellite images, credible to you? David, let's start?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: It's credible. I have to admit like everybody else on the first reaction it gave me hope. We got something here. But the more you think about it, the more you feel that this was three or four days ago that this information happened. After an accident with that debris field, you have a certain amount of time before things do start to sink if it's particular parts, especially one that size, the potential for it to fill up with water and eventually sink as it's being pushed down to the current.

It's not going to be easy to find this thing even though we had a particular fix on it. But I do have a lot of faith in the Orion and what it can pick up. It's designed to find submarines. So if it's down there, they may find it.

PEREIRA: Faith only gets us far. We have to have the instruments to get us there. We know that they are dealing with a lot of challenges. Les, how about you? They're up against high seas. There are white cap conditions. We know that it's a really deep part of the ocean. What do you make of it? What does your gut tell you, is this a possibility?

LES ABEND, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Of course, it's a possibility. Credible information but I'm still skeptical. You know, we go back to the container falling off a ship thing. The 78 feet, that is a big chunk of something, if indeed that's what it is.

PEREIRA: The big chunk of something, they're saying is about 79 feet long, the largest piece. There are two debris fields. Does that sort of fit to what we could be looking at if this was wreckage?

ABEND: Well, yes. And I don't knowing the dimensions of the tail. It wouldn't be the tail. My speculation, of course, is that it could be a piece of the wing which makes sense. You know, that there is air trapped in the wing, which could be a very positive thing from the standpoint. We could begin the accident investigation from the standpoint of the fragment itself might indicate how the airplane hit the water, how fast it hit the water. This is the kind of thing that accident investigators are very good at.

PEREIRA: Currents are an issue. If this is debris from that wreckage, it has already moved a long distance again we're making a lot of suppositions here. David, we do know, what's new this hour is a Norwegian merchant ship reached the area of where those satellites found this debris, but Australian Navy, they're going to take a while to get there. To give us an idea, lay out what the next few hours, few days, what happens and what they're going to do.

SOUCIE: The fact that merchant ship is there is incredibly fortunate because if they do find it. The first thing that would have to be done is identify positively that it's part of the aircraft. So having that platform there to work with rather than just being able to fly over it and try to verify from the sky which is nearly impossible. Now we have the capability to lift it up, put it out and figure out what it is. That's hugely important because now the next step after that is to find the impact of the scatter point.

PEREIRA: How do you work backwards? How do you extrapolate that?

SOUCIE: Remember how we got this information about searching there was from the NTSB and FAA working together to find out the flows and the wind and fit ran out of fuel where it would end up as the channels converge within that ocean. So to have that -- those pieces there where they thought they would be is great. Now what you have to do is work backwards.

But working backwards is the same as working -- it makes a triangle. You have this point and then as time goes on, it widens. And then the other way around, when you look the other way, it also widens. It's not going to be easy. PEREIRA: This is definitely not going to be easy. Les, one of the things that you mentioned is the need for this flight data recorder that would be in the tail section of the plane. Time is of the essence. The clock is ticking on this.

ABEND: Right. My understanding is that it's required to last 30 days. It may last as long as 35 days. But I mean that would be incredible piece of evidence.

PEREIRA: It tells us -- what doesn't it tell?

ABEND: What doesn't it tell?

PEREIRA: Yes. I mean, it is sort of the magic thing that is not going to solve all our problems. There is a lot of information it can give us.

ABEND: There's a lot of data. The digital flight data recorder will tell us -- it has almost thousands of parameters that can be plugged into a computer program that the NTSB utilizes in addition to the cockpit voice recorder puts the time frame and when that all comes together we're just going to get a better reference to what happened.

PEREIRA: All right, again, a lot of question marks here still. We know there is a whole lot of search effort being directed to that part of the ocean. We appreciate both of you joining us, Les and David. Thank you so much for this. We'll keep you around today. There are more questions. It seems to be developing by the hour.

All right, short break here. Next up on NEW DAY, the weather certainly, as we mentioned, hindering the search for this missing debris. We're going to take a look at that and how long it could actually takes those crews, all of the ships and air support to get within a clear view of what is in the water. Stay with us here on NEW DAY.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We are following breaking news in the search for Flight 370. Why? Well, two objects were spotted by satellite imagery several days ago analyzed since and now investigators believe that it may be debris from Flight 370. It is called a lead. That means it's a possibility. Remember, we are 13 days in. Ocean currents, time, everything that have moved very far, if indeed the plane wound up in the water at all.

This morning, four aircraft rushed to the area. All came back without substantiated the finding. Nothing so far. A lot of reasons for that. It's a huge distance. Conditions are bad. For more on that let's bring in our meteorologist Indra Petersons.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: This is about a 12-hour loop. Very easy to see a large cold front made its way through the area. That's the concern. The good news, this cold front is making its way currently now out of the region. Keep in mind that doesn't mean conditions will be improving. The reason for that is we're still talking about a common circulation in the region. These are some very strong winds and currents.

The reason for that, when you talk about latitudes, this is a very common trade route because these winds are so strong in westerly to easterly direction. Right here the winds aren't as strong, but that doesn't mean anyone trying to make their way into the region will be dealing with some high seas and strong winds. Currently, the cold front made its way out. The winds aren't as strong as they were just a few hours ago.

It doesn't mean there won't be periods of time where those winds will increase. Keep in mind strong winds also means rough seas. Those periods time of when the winds do increase. We'll see those seas increase. They correlate together. Typically in this region, that's not uncommon when you see some of those peak winds to see swells go 20, 30 and as high as 50-foot swells can be found within that vicinity. That's the concern. The best news, the concern all morning was the visibility.

Currently, we're seeing that system moving out. Visibility is improving and should stay that way for the next 48 hours. Remember, we keep saying this. These satellite images are four days old. They have to determine where in fact if that debris is on the surf surface, something would be below the surface.

This is the Indian Ocean, two to three miles deep. Going back to this diagram, they have to evaluate where was the debris now four days ago and where would it be currently so they can find that debris and where would the impact have been four days back?

Those are all the concerns they'll be monitoring. The only news that's favorable is the huge cold front is making its way out. They'll have to fly through it from Australia to that region each time they go back and forth.

CUOMO: Word the Norwegian merchant vessel that supposedly is in the area that is now in the realm of where they want to be searching. So that's a piece of good news. Another interesting thing on the weather side. Water temperature there is about 60 degrees, right?

PETERSONS: Yes. Definitely warm for this time of the year. Hurricane or cyclone.

CUOMO: Just to keep all realm of possibility open. Warm water in terms of what it means for survivability as a lot of families are speculating. They are hoping that's still the issue. Indra, thank you very for taking us through it. A lot of factors involved in this.

We are going to take a break now on NEW DAY. When we come back, we'll bring you the very latest on what could be the biggest lead they've had so far in this search for the plane. It comes out of Australia. You are looking at satellite images from four days ago. Investigators are asking, could these items of debris be parts of the plane?

Several planes have gone out so far and come back empty. We are live with the latest from everywhere this story is happening.