Return to Transcripts main page


Blockbuster Primary Day; Two Jets Nearly Collide Over Newark Airport; Deadly Oklahoma Tornado Anniversary

Aired May 20, 2014 - 08:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: On the line. A huge day in politics. Key primaries across the U.S., control of the Senate up for grabs. Will establishment candidates survive or will the Tea Party surge again?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Near collision. A very close call at one of the nation's major airports. A landing passenger plane comes within just 50 yards of another plane taking off. So, what went wrong?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Soaring with the skyscrapers. Look at this amazing video. You have to see it. Wing suit jumpers flying over New York City. Those daredevils join us live.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.


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

BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, May 20th, 8:00 in the East.

Will voters continue to rally around the Tea Party? We will be finding out. We could find out today as blockbuster primaries play out. We are watching contests in six states where key players in six states could find themselves lame ducks by the end of the day.

CUOMO: Four of the primaries feature a Tea Party challenger taking on an establishment Republican, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.

So, CNN now puts more than a dozen Senate seats up for grabs in November's midterms meaning today's results could have a big impact on the balance in power in Washington.

BOLDUAN: Let's bring in Van Jones and Ana Navarro -- Van, host of CNN's "CROSSFIRE" and Ana Navarro, CNN political commentator and Republican strategist -- to have a conversation about this.

Good morning to both of you. So, as we're talking about this, guys, I want to get your take.

First off, Ana, the big question a lot of people have, are Republicans going to be able to retake the Senate, as things stand today? What do you think the chances are, Ana?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As things stand today, it looks pretty good. The generic ballots look pretty good. But you don't vote on generic candidates. You vote on local candidates, local politics matters. Races are about the local politics.

And I think we're going to have to see how it develops. Certainly, it looks within reach and it looks like a fairly good shot right now.

BOLDUAN: Let's -- Van, I want to bring you in. Let's take a look at two recent NBC/Marist polls and talk about specifically Kentucky, where a lot of people are watching what's going to happen with Mitch McConnell?

If you look at the first poll, him against his primary challenger, it appears he is going to make it through, 57-25. The latest polling stands there according to NBC/Marist, but then look at his general election challenger, McConnell, 46, Alison Lundergan Grimes at 45. I mean, they are neck and neck at this moment, Van.

McConnell thinks, though, that he has a winning strategy, because he's running against Obama and Obamacare. That is a message that goes far beyond just Kentucky.

What are you going to do to combat that?

VAN JONES, HOST, CNN'S "CROSSFIRE": Well, first of all, the health care law is actually doing very well in that state.

So -- here's the reality, even if under any circumstances you say, Obama, wildly popular, Obamacare wildly popular everywhere. Democrats are still going to have a tough call this fall for these reasons. Demography -- they kind of people who vote in the midterms tend to be a little older, a little bit whiter. Geography, a lot of these states of red states we're talking about. And then history -- usually the second term of a president, you get to the mid-term elections, you tend have to problems.

So, you've got three strikes going against the Democrats, and yet, the Democrats are still competitive. Why? Because you have this problem -- you look at 1998. When the opposition party gets too extreme, sometimes there's a backlash.

I think right now, the Republicans are in danger of overshooting the runway here, talking about Benghazi, all this other sort of stuff, thinking Obamacare is less popular and that it is, and Democrats still have a shot to get through and Kentucky is the best case to look at.

In Kentucky right now, you've got Grimes coming on strong. I think McConnell is in deep trouble and Republicans may actually shoot themselves in the foot today by not making the right folks. BOLDUAN: Now, Ana, I want you to respond to Van. He listed reasons Democrats are in a bad position, or have, maybe, a tougher uphill battle. Why, then? What does it say about the state of affairs in the state of that race specifically that in this election cycle, the top Republican in the Senate is facing such a problem?

NAVARRO: First of all, I'm not sure he's facing such a problem. Listen, reports of his political death have been greatly exaggerated. We were reading about how tough his primary was going to be just a few months ago. Everybody has forgotten that.

JONES: That's true.

NAVARRO: This was supposed to be a very competitive primary. There's been over $4 million spent, which in Kentucky market is a significant number, against him and he's going to do very well today. I expect him to win by double digits in what was billed to be the death of, you know, Mitch McConnell, where he was going to come out of this. If he came out of it, come out bloodied and bruised and instead he's going to be buoyed by a very strong victory, in likelihood.

So I would tell you, do not underestimate Mitch McConnell. He is savvy, he is wily. He's a season the veteran and I think he's got his mojo back.

With the Tea Party victories two years did was get the candidates, the mainstream candidates, ready for fights. I think two years ago, they were caught by surprise. They were -- and two years later, they've all decided we're not going to get Richard Lugar again.

This is not going to happen. We're going to fight. We're going to raise the money. We're going to do the outreach. We're going to be in our state. We're going to campaign hard.

There's only one way to run. You can only run hard and I think that's what you're going to see Mitch McConnell doing in the fall.

JONES: But at what cost? I would say, Ana, I'm curious, from our point of view of Democrats looking at this thing, it looks like the Tea Party might lose some of these battles, but they've already won the war.

So many of these so-called establishment Republicans now have been pulled so far to the right. You have establishment Republicans now saying that they are against the minimum wage. Not against raising it, against having it. And you don't hear establishment Republicans pushes back on this line.

In fact, establishment Republicans are now coming up. Now, listen, abolishing the minimum wage is about 3 percent popular anywhere except for a Tea Party rally. So, you could have a situation where the Tea Party candidates loses but the Tea Party agenda has already taken over the Republican Party sets us up great as Democrats in November.

What do you think about that?


NAVARRO: Van, the minimum wage issue is not a Tea Party agenda. It's about a small party and a lot think of Republicans think that the minimum should be decided by states, not the federal government, but --

JONES: Poll that one.

NAVARRO: -- I also think politics is about -- politics is a pendulum and sometimes it goes to one side, it goes to the other and slowly comes back to the center.

I could tell you the same thing about Democrats. Listen, I'm old enough to remember blue dog Democrats. I was friends with a few of them. They are an endangered species in Congress today, because moderate Democrats have also disappeared from the map.

BOLDUAN: Seems what -- well, there you go, van. There you go.

I'm going to real quick, a take if you can sum it up quickly, Ana and Van, what is the race you're watching that has the biggest implications because you don't think Kentucky is as close as many people think, Ana?

NAVARRO: I'll tell you the race I'm watching is Heat versus Indiana.

BOLDUAN: I like that. Watching the Pacers as well.

NAVARRO: That's the one I was focused on.

BOLDUAN: There you go. Good job on this primary day.

Van, what about you?

JONES: Kentucky. To me, it's all about Kentucky. I think Alison Grimes is going to give McConnell a real fit. I think that the Republicans are overshooting the runway on their rhetoric on Benghazi and Obamacare. You had a John McCain pollster come out and saying, the rhetoric saying that you're going to abolish Obamacare is dead in the water. I think Republicans may once again hand the Senate to Democrats by being too extreme.

BOLDUAN: What is he message that resonates with voters --


NAVARRO: That, my friend, is called wishful thinking, but you're entitled to it.


BOLDUAN: Ana Navarro with her Miami Heat pin on today, I see it on your jacket.

Great to see you both, Van and Ana.

And be sure to watch Van Moore tonight on "CROSSFIRE", 6:30 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN, of course.


CUOMO: All right. The term near-miss really isn't good enough for this story out of Newark. Federal investigators say two planes came literally within yards of each other, one was attempting to land, the other attempting to take off. This may be the closest call yet.

CNN's Rene Marsh is following the story from Washington.

Who screwed up?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: That is the big question, and we just don't know at this point. But we can tell you at the closest point these two passenger planes were half a football field apart.

Now, the NTSB and FAA are investigating who is to blame for this close collision? Close calls like this usually come down to either pilot or controller error.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he was real close, sir.

MARSH (voice-over): Audio revealing tense moments between the pilot and air traffic controllers when two commercial airliners nearly collide mid-air over Newark Airport last month.

UNIDENTIFIED CONTROLLER: Acey 4100. Traffic off your right, you have him in sight? Maintain visual.

MARSH: The controllers directing a United Airlines Boeing 737 to land just seconds before a smaller Express Jet was cleared for takeoff on an intersecting runway. The larger jet nearly on top of the plane when controllers tell it to circle the airport.

UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: Yes, we were putting the nose down and yes, he was real close.

MARSH: At its closest point, the aircraft going 50 yards away from each other. Only about half a football field.

ARTHUR ROSENBERG, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: That Express Jet should have been held in essentially the ready to go position until the 737 had cleared that cross runway and made a safe landing and then taken off. The clearance for the Express Jet to take off never should have been given.

MARSH: This is the second time in recent weeks United Airlines has been involved in a nearly catastrophic collision. In April, a Boeing 757 flying over the Pacific nearly collided with another aircraft after climbing to the altitude controllers assigned them. The aircraft forced to plunge 600 feet in seconds.

KEVIN TOWNSEND, PASSENGER: I'm looking down the aisle, and there's, you know, hundreds of people in front of me, people start screaming. There's noises of things that weren't secured falling around.

MARSH: Where the error lies in these most recent near disasters still under investigation.


MARSH: So, at the end of this all, no damage reported to either aircraft, and as far as injuries go, there were none.

Back to you, Chris.

BOLDUAN: I got it, Rene. Thank you very much.

This morning, a key clue in the search for Flight 370. Now, Inmarsat and Malaysian officials say they will release the raw satellite data used to track the flight's path into the Indian Ocean. Families of missing passengers have been demanding that the information be released for months.

Saima Mohsin is live in Kuala Lumpur with the very latest.

What are you hearing, Saima?

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kate, this has been top priority on the families of those onboard MH370 for weeks now. That's exactly why we came down here, to really push the government for answers. Both my producer and I on the phone constantly to them, asking them where exactly this data is, because there was confusion about that, and when they're prepared to release it.

Now, late last night, Kuala Lumpur time, we finally got an answer.


MOHSIN (voice-over): Overnight, Malaysian officials and the British satellite company that detected Flight 370's final pings vowed transparency. In a joint statement, Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation and Inmarsat say all parties are working for the release of the data communication logs and the technical description of the analysis for public consumption.

While there's no set date for when this raw satellite data will be released, this marks the first attempt to make the information publicly available. But some loved ones say, it's not enough.

SARAH BAJC, PARTNER OF PHILIP WOOD: If the Malaysian government truly has nothing to hide, I believe they should completely open their books, everything, not just the pieces they allowed us to hear.

MOHSIN: But Malaysia's former prime minister now pointing the blame at Boeing. In his blog, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad writes, "Someone is hiding something", saying Boeing should know something, since MH370 was built by that airline company, and a relative of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah is breaking his silence.


MOHSIN: Captain Shah's brother-in-law tells Australian broadcasting companying Four Corners that Shah was not suicidal and did not have life insurance. Khan also dismissed the controversy surrounding the brother's flight simulator, saying it broke in 2013.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did not practice extreme landings and takeoffs.

KHAN: This year? I don't think so, because the simulator is not working.


MOHSIN: And, you know, all -- there are a lot of theories and a lot of suspicions surrounding Flight MH370, of course, and all of these delays and this confusion doesn't help, but when and if we finally get this data released as has been promised to CNN and the families of those onboard MH370, they plan to take it to an independent body far away from Malaysian government officials and the current investigations here because they want to independently verify that the serve really is going on in the right place -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Saima Mohsin, yes, that's such an important point for the families. We appreciate that. Thank you so much.

Take a look more of your headlines. CNN has learned that U.S. military is making contingency plans if it needs to evacuate hundreds of Americans from Libya. Officials say an evacuation order could come at any time.

So, the U.S. doubled the number of aircraft standing by in Italy, hundreds of marines are ready to help with any quick exit from Tripoli.

A new strain on U.S./China relations. China firing back saying the U.S. charged five military officers with cyber spying. Beijing says it wants the charges withdrawn and even summoned the U.S. ambassador to file a formal complaint. The U.S. says the officers hacked into the computer systems in the country, stealing trade secrets.

This is going to be quite controversy. Did Led Zeppelin rip off one of its biggest hits? Being sued by the trust for Randy California, the one-time leader for the band Spirit. We've heard of them. They're accusing Led Zeppelin of copying the chords of "Stairway to Heaven" from Spirit called "Taurus", saying the similarities are fairly blatant and note for note. The band did tour together back in the '60s.

Now, we want you to be the judge. We're going to play both songs for you at home. I want you at home and in the studio to listen. Start with "Spirit."


PEREIRA: There's the chords. Right now, listen to "Stairway to Heaven."


CUOMO: Then it gets different.

PEREIRA: Well, yes, it does.

BOLDUAN: Kind of the same -- is that the same, though?

PEREIRA: The chord progression. Now, here's the idea. They toured together in the '60s, two years the later --


PEREIRA: -- they came out with "Stairway to Heaven."

BOLDUAN: The '60s. Why are re hearing about this now?

PEREIRA: Well, apparently, they didn't have the money to sort of take legal process, et cetera and make all that happen. Now the state is trying to settle, they want credit where it's due.

It's not lost on me "Businessweek" puts estimates, that "Stairway" has earned at least $562 million. That's not lost on me either.

CUOMO: When you credit --

PEREIRA: Yes, that's one. What do you think guys? We've got a bunch of musicians in our crew. Yes? No?

BOLDUAN: Split decision.

CUOMO: Gary says no?

BOLDUAN: Split decision.

PEREIRA: Audio guy says, yes. James says, yes.

BOLDUAN: Well, most importantly, what do you think? Tweet us, #NewDay.

Coming up on NEW DAY, give you a chance to think about it, consider, we're going to return to Moore, Oklahoma, very important. You remember a year ago, the city was leveled by a tornado. Today, we're going to go back. The place is still rebuilding, still hurting. I'm going to tell you how you can help.


CUOMO: Today is a day of mourning and remembrance, especially for residents of Moore, Oklahoma, as they mark one year since the catastrophic tornado that left 24 people dead there, among them seven children killed as they huddled for safety in their elementary school. This morning, many of them are still trying to pick through the pieces and we were there a year ago.

George Howell led the coverage and is back in Oklahoma this morning to see how far they've come -- George.


I can tell you personally that that is a day that I will never forget. My team and I, you know, we heard the sirens blaring. We had to get to an underground shelter to just get to safety.

And then we got to this neighborhood and we saw homes destroyed and that school that's being rebuilt, it was all but leveled. One year later, there are signs of progress. You see homes like this that are coming up throughout the neighborhood, but for everyone that was here on the ground that day, people remember vividly that desperate dash to get out of the way.


HOWELL (voice-over): Never before seen video --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can hear the roar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's right there.

HOWELL: -- of a family on the run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's it. It's right there.

HOWELL: A monster in the rearview mirror.


HOWELL: Every second, every decision, a matter of life and death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going through the field. We're going to be good down here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drove south through fields, over curbs and fences to get out.

HOWELL: The Brodericks returned to only find they lost everything. But they had a much bigger concern in mind that night digging through debris and finding the missing and that is when we first met.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was just carnage. You know, but it had to be done. People needed to be helped. So I started rounding everybody up. People were just running up and down the streets. I got them hollering out, if you can hear me, call out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is my hero. I mean, not only did he save our lives but I know he saved some other lives.

HOWELL: The Brodericks consider themselves among the lucky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The front door here.

HOWELL: Slowly but surely rebuilding their home. But this community almost suffered some heartbreaking loss, 24 people died that day, seven of the dead were students, killed inside Plaza Towers Elementary School when the building was all by leveled.

One of them, Denny Legg's (ph) son.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My son Christopher had a little friend down the hall that was crying. Upset about the weather. And he asked his substitute that day if he could move down the hall. She allowed him to and he covered his little friend when the wall came down.

HOWELL: The old building didn't have storm shelters. The new school that's going up will. And you find throughout this community that new homes are being built with storm shelters in place, just as the Brodericks are planning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to build our storm shelter right here, kind of between the second and third cars.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh. My gosh. Don't look. Don't look.

HOWELL: After what this family, like many others, saw and experienced, one year ago, not being prepared for a disaster like this is no longer an option.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can hear the roar.


HOWELL: Back to a live picture here in Moore, Oklahoma, where the see the spot where the storm shelter will go in, in this particular home and the debate here continues in this state about storm shelters. Critics say there's no excuse that it's not happening. That they're not in all schools in the state.

However, Governor Mary Fallin tells me it should be left up to communities to decide how that happens. She says it is top priority for her. But, Chris, you remember what it was like being here the day, you know, when people were going through all this debris. The debris is gone, but the feeling really remains for people who escaped and survived this storm.

CUOMO: One of the worst I've seen, George, and you did a lot of important reporting then and even more important you could argue for it to be reminded of now. So thank you for doing that, and the pressure to fund the shelters, that's the thing. I mean, stick homes don't stand up to tornadoes.

Let's just show you some pictures really quickly so you remember what was done there. Everything from the fascination of the bowling alley that disappeared. This is the hospital. See, it's still just a blank slate. They need money and help for that.

The schools -- they lost two schools, where those kids died in the basement of that one. They're rebuilding now. So, if you want to help, you can. You can go to and there are ways for you to get involved in the recovery of Oklahoma. We hope you do exactly that.

BOLDUAN: Just a reminder of the sheer size of that storm, of that tornado, just unbelievable.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: she was trapped in her car nearly a week, if you can believe it, and survived. Now, this mother of four is talking about what helped her make it through. Her remarkable story of survival, coming up next.


PEREIRA: Time now for the five things to note for your NEW DAY.

At number one, important primary day that could change the landscape for the fall. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is one of several Republicans fighting for his job against Tea Party challengers.

A big victory for members of the Flight 370 passengers. Raw satellite from the missing might have could soon be released. Families have been fighting for that data for months but the satellite company Inmarsat has declined to make it public until now.