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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  January 6, 2014 10:00am-11:01am PST

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in the ground, expands, and then basically blows up. it's kind of like an earthquake, but closer to the surface. frostquakes usually happen farther north in canada, so people in toronto not really used to them. one person tweeted here, awakened by a loud boom. thought a family member was in trouble. absolutely amazing. thanks for watching "around the world" today. cnn "newsroom" starts right now. cnn "newsroom" starts right now. have a good afternoon. -- captions by vitac -- right now, the coldest temperatures in 20 years sweeping across the united states. memphis, tennessee, get this, colder than anchorage, alaska in atlanta. colder in moscow. how dangerous are these bone-chilling temperatures? right now, the supreme court calls a halt to same-sex marriages in utah, at least temporarily. we'll talk about what happens next and what this means for newly married same-sex couples in that state. and right now, president obama is back here in washington, d.c. with a long
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to-do list on his desk. at the top, fighting for jobless benefits, and figuring out if he needs to fix the nsa. just how big are the obstacles in his path? hello, i'm wolf blitzer, reporting from washington. we start with a severe winter cold that's gripping much of the country. the snow, the ice and the brutally low temperatures have caused school closings from minneapolis to birmingham. chicago, cleveland and kansas city, also among those cities with no school. this is what it looks like. look at this in indianapolis, the city's travel warning at level red for the first time since the '70s. that means no one is allowed to drive, unless it's an emergency. looking at the airports, more than 3,000 flights have been cancelled, and you can expect certainly that number to rise. we're covering all angles of the cold blast. self stephanie elam joining us
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from minneapolis, victor blackwell monitoring from the south in atlanta. alexandria steele is checking the forecast from our severe weather center. and renee marsh in washington, d.c., checking the nation's airports. let's start with stephanie. stephanie, the temperatures well below zero. what is being done to reach a lot of these folks who may be in real danger from this weather? >> reporter: yeah. wolf, it actually feels like it's getting colder here. it's really -- it doesn't take long for the shivers to start setting in. we have been out here for maybe about five, seven minutes now, and already you can start feeling the chill come in, even though we have on so many layers. and what they have been doing -- we talked to the police department. they said they have been out patrolling, really looking for people who were in danger, who needed to get inside. taking them to hospitals, taking them to shelters, whatever they needed to do. they say crime has gone down a lot, because it's just so cold. what they see more of are more domestic disputes, because people are kind of caged up at
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home. dealing with this. they're also very concerned about people driving here. because if you're out, if there's any issue, if you don't have gas in your car, and you've run out, don't have enough antifree antifreeze, it is severe. it's so quick, wolf, how cold. you feel it so deeply. if you look at the river behind me, you can see where there's mainly frozen, and there's a little bit of water going through, where you can see like the steam coming off you. you know it is cold when you can see that happening off a river outside. i know you're used to this, being from the northern climates, but it is very severely cold here and they continent don't want to take chances. they even shut down the zoo, because since all the schools are closed for the first time since anyone can remember for just cold, they want to make sure families don't do anything else, because it's just too cold to be outside, wolf. >> yeah, you better get inside, stephanie. thanks for that report. let's check the situation in the south right now. victor blackwell is joining us from atlanta. how prepared are folks in the south where they could also see
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some record low temperatures, victor? >> reporter: well, a coat, gloves, and a hat is -- even with those, it's still hard to prepare for the temperatures we're seeing today, and will see tomorrow. i do want to update that list of school closures you just announce announcements the, wolf. for the safety of students and employees, they will close schools tomorrow on january 7th. we can also tell you, the city was prepared for black ice. let's take a look at the roads. we're looking at i-75 and i-85 here, where things are moving along smoothly. but there was this fear that overnight all of yesterday's rain would freeze, and there would be black ice over the roads today. the good thing is that the wind that came through that's also making it very cold, it dried the roads before temperatures dipped below freezing, so no major concern for black ice. but right now, in the mid 20s, it feels like about 10 degrees. tomorrow the weather is forecast to be just as windy, with temperatures at about 7 degrees.
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that would break a more than 40-year record. and it would feel like 10 below zero this far south in the city of atlanta, wolf. >> that's cold for any place, especially someplace like atlanta. victor, thanks. some parts of the united states could see a 60-degree temperature drop today. alexandria steele is monitoring the situation for us from the severe weather center. explain what's causing all of this, alexandra? >> wolf, this is some rarified air. it's called the polar vortex, air that normally circulates around the globe. the northern north pole. so certainly the poles, not much farther south. but when the polar vortex gets weak, this kind of deep cold is allowed to drop into the northern hemisphere. and that's a piece of what we're feeling. so it's really the coldest air in the northern hemisphere, hasn't been in this part of the woods. if you're younger than 40, you've never felt it before. so we're going to watch this drop south, east. it will modify some. but looking at these numbers, 44 below in duluth.
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just a few moments ago, at 50 below. when it gets that low, frostbite happens in five minutes. 35 below, frostbite happens in ten minutes. and you know, in some of these cities like indianapolis, there's no driving. now, it's not because they don't want you to go anywhere. it's a combination of a few things. one, of course, the snow that has fallen. the cold temperatures, the winds, and say your car gets stuck. motor oil freezes at 15. antifreeze at 35 below. and even the tire seals will leak. so you get out there, something happens to your car, and then you're stuck in that life-threatening air. we're having that be called a pds, something very rare, a potentially dangerous situation, because the air is so cold. we're going to watch that cold not only in the upper midwest. today, indianapolis, look at this, 46 degrees colder than normal. 9 belowl will be the high temperature. in atlanta today, 30 degrees colder than average, high of only 26 degrees. but watch what happens. the northeast has been enjoying
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kind of some pretty balmy weather. that front passes them today, and temperatures there will cool off dramatically tonight. current temperatures, much below average. and i'll talk about atlanta and how low it's going to go and when coming up, and how rare that is as well in the deep south, wolf. >> alexandra, thanks very much. you can imagine the weather is making a mess of air travel today across the country. thousands of flights already have been grounded because of the snow and the cold. rene marsh joining us with this part of the story. how bad is it, today, rene, for flyers? >> wolf, if you're one of those passengers and you are waiting to get on your flight and can't, it's pretty bad. right now, the snapshot, it looks a little bit like this. more than 3,000 delays, and nearly 3,500 cancellations. we want to drill down just a little bit and take a closer look, as to what the situation looks like at specific airports. you can see chicago, lots of red there. they're seeing so far, according to flight aware's misery map,
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within this time frame from 10:00 this morning until 2:00 p.m. eastern time, they have seen the most canals legislations and delays. however, we want to put this in perspective for you. according to mass flight, which they collect lots of aviation data. they say on a normal day, you see about 200 cancellations, and 84% of the flights on time. there's some perspective. if you're at the airport, you're delayed or cancelled, you know that already. so you want to know, what do i do if i'm delayed or cancelled? we have some tips for you. the first thing, if you have your boarding pass in your hand, you want to go ahead and scan that boarding pass at the kiosk. because a lot of times these airlines will automatically rebook you. so you'll get this kind of information if you have been automatically rebooked. that's good to know before you stand on that line, very long lines, as we have seen in video. also, if you want to get information about your flight, tweet the airline. a lot of them are on social media. and you will get a quick
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response. and lastly, you know, this is a really good tip. all those people we saw sleeping on the ground in the airport, what they recommend sometimes is buy a day pass to one of the lounges. you're a lot more comfortable. there is food. and they also have staff there. the lines are a lot shorter. and you may get through a lot quicker. and just -- wolf, one bit of news coming into us right before we came up here. jetblue. if you're on a jetblue flight, you might want to know, the airline is telling cnn they plan on reducing its operations totally by 5:00 p.m. eastern time. they're just stopping operations. the reason they're doing this is because they want to bring things back up to speed, so this will be in place. they'll start bringing operations back tomorrow. they hope to be at 100% tomorrow. they're saying that flight rules, as far as rest rules for pilots, is playing into this, as well. wolf? >> rene, good information. thanks very much. we'll have a lot more on the bitter cold weather and the impact it's having across the
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country later this hour. there's another important story we're following significant decision by the united states supreme court just a little while ago. it's been a little more than two weeks since a judge allowed same-sex marriages to go ahead in utah. but now the high court has put any new marriages in that state an hold. our justice reporter, evan perez, is joining us more on this ruling, what it means. it's not a permanent ban, necessarily. >> no, it's a temporary hold. and justice sotomayor kicked it over to the full supreme court. and they issued a ruling, putting a temporary hold on this ruling from the district court judge in denver. about 17 days ago. who allowed these marriages to go forward. now utah voters passed a law back in 2004 that ruled that same-sex marriages were banned, were illegal. and in light of last year's supreme court ruling, this federal judge in december decided that that court ruling -- federal court ruling,
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essentially made the state law unconstitutional. that's how this all came about. >> what happens, evan, to those couples who got married the last couple weeks in utah when it was allowed? >> about 1,000 people, couples, same-sex couples, managed to get married in the 17 days that this ruling stood. those people are still married. legally. this ruling today only puts this on hold so there are no more new licenses that are going to be issued in the state of utah. but those people are still married. we will see what happens as the state goes through its appeals process. and this -- you know, whether or not this becomes permanent or not. >> it goes to the tenth circuit court of appeals in denver. they will make a decision. potentially, though, it could go all the way up to the supreme court. >> right. it all depends on what the appeals court rules. if they decide that the judge in denver was right, then this may not come back to the supreme court. we'll see.
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it does appear that there's a -- there's enough of a majority on the supreme court, based on the rulings last year, allowing marriages, gay marriages -- in california to continue. and overturning the federal ban, that there might be enough that this could stand, if, you know -- depending on how the appeals court rules. >> he haevan perez, thanks very. liz cheney now bowing out of a contentious race, a story you saw first on cnn. she is dropping her senate bid for family reasons. we're about to take a closer look at her campaign, what it meant for the republican party. stay with us. when it comes to good nutrition...i'm no expert. that would be my daughter -- hi dad. she's a dietitian. and back when i wasn't eating right, she got me drinking boost. it's got a great taste, and it helps give me the nutrition i was missing. helping me stay more like me. [ female announcer ] boost complete nutritional drink has 26 essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin d to support strong bones
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a controversial republican primary challenge is now ended with a big name dropping out of the race. you heard it here on cnn first. liz cheney, eldest daughter of the former vice president, dick cheney, has dropped out of the wyoming senate race, citing family health reasons. off of erin mcpike, a relatively popular incumbent in wyoming. what's the latest? >> reporter: well, wolf, it was very rocky. that's understandable.
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because it was a surprise when she announced this campaign in the first place. you may remember, she moved her family across the country to take on a low-key but powerful republican incumbent senator, and then she picked a family fight along the way. now, this incumbent, mike enzen complained he was a friendy fishing buddy, but former vice president said that wasn't true. the whole race turned into a major distraction for the republican party. >> we're proud of our family in wyoming. we're proud of grandma and grandpa. >> we're proud of our mom. >> she is not running anymore. liz cheney's famous family helped catapult her political career but also the reason she is ending her ill-fated effort to unseat fellow republican, three-term wyoming senator, mike enzi. in a statement this morning, she explained, my children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign. and their health and well-being will always be my overriding priority. details are scant. cheney, who is married with five
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children, states that serious health issues in her family have caused her to drop her bid. that wouldn't have been her only challenge. her claimed deep roots in the cowboy state raised eyebrows from the start. >> oh, the state of cheney, where who cares where you actually live. liz cheney today announcing she will try to unseat republican senator, mike enzi, of wyoming, even though she has never lived in wyoming! she is from d.c. >> reporter: she moved her husband and children out of the washington suburb in 2012 to launch her senate bid, which led to this local editorial. hey, liz cheney, if you want to run for u.s. senate, try it from virginia, or some other state. but it was a public spat over same-sex marriage with her lesbian sister, mary, and her wife, that caused a scene on the national stage. >> i love mary very much. i love her family very much. this is just an issue on which we disagree. >> reporter: it spiraled from there with feuding statements between sisters on facebook, causing dad to intervene.
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>> we, you know, were surprised when there was an attack launched against liz on facebook. and wished it hadn't happened. it's always been dealt with within the context of the family. and frankly, that's our preferences. >> reporter: cnn has now learned from multiple sources close to the family that health issues involving at least one of liz cheney's children are the serious health issues she is referring to in her statement about ending this campaign. she was, of course, pulling well behind enzi, but we didn't expect this move. wolf? >> certainly not, given the passion and excitement she showed earlier, even though she had a really uphill struggle ahead of her. erin, thanks very much. so let's bring in our chief political analyst, gloria borger, for some analysis of this and other political stories. she did have a major uphill struggle. >> she did. >> the polls showed in wyoming she wasn't doing well. >> i mean, there were some polls
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that showed her as much as 50 points behind in the primary. look, mike enzi was very conservative. very popular inside the state. and so it wasn't exactly a fight between a conservative and a liberal republican or a moderate republican. these were two conservatives, and when you talk to people inside the state, they couldn't figure out why she was running to unseat somebody they had considered pretty satisfactory and just as conservative as she is. >> yeah, he's a real conservative, mike enzi. all those conservative credentials and very well-liked in wyoming. the feud that we saw unfold in recent weeks within the cheney family over same-sex marriage between liz cheney and her sister mary cheney, is there a similar feud going on on a bigger notion within the republican party? >> yeah. i think so. i mean, the irony here, of course, is that liz cheney put herself far to the right of her
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own father, dick cheney, who when he ran for vice president said, look, i think it's up to the states. and, you know, said that he had a gay daughter, and that he believes it was an issue to be decided by the states. liz cheney positions herself to the right of that and said she didn't approve of gay marriage. now, in the state of wyoming, that's a popular view. so it's not as if she hurt herself in the state. she actually helped herself in the state by positioning herself against her sister. so i think the republican party has the -- what ronald reagan used to say, the big tent problem here. and the question is, if you want to bring in younger people, different kinds of people into the republican party, this could be one of those cultural issues that comes up again, certainly in the next presidential race. >> yeah, i know it was very payable for the parents to see this. >> they had to intervene, right? you saw dick cheney there, he's a man of few words. and i guarantee you, this was
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not something he wanted played out on national tv. >> let's talk about another political subject. on the agenda today, the former first lady, former secretary of state, former u.s. senator, hillary clinton. there's a marriage article in politico by maggi haberman. and among other things, writes this, met with a handful of aides, preparing for a 2016 presidential campaign. three officials delivered a dispassionate numbers-driver assessment. they broke down, filing deadlines in certain states, projected how much money clinton would need to raise. so a story like this shows clearly she is obviously very seriously thinking of running for that nomination. >> i would be surprised if this had not occurred. okay? the fact that hillary clinton is meeting with people who are talking about what she would need to do, how much money she would need to raise, seems to me to be a very pragmatic decision on her part, because people have
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to get these things in gear if, indeed, you're going to run. and i think having that kind of an assessment early on is sort of what a smart candidate would do. on the other hand, wolf, the more we talk about this, the more there's the sort of question game going on. and the less that really helps her, because the last thing she wants to be, again, is the presumptive front-runner. but guess what, that's what she will always be in the democratic party right now. >> she certainly will be the front-runner, no matter when she announces, assuming she announces at some point. >> but i guarantee you that other potential democratic candidates, like, say, joe biden, are probably having these same kind of clear-eyed meetings with their own advisers. >> political advisers. all right. we'll talk more about this later in the situation room, maggi haberman joining us, as well, from politico. other news. violence clearly on the horizon. iraq worse since troops pulled out. are they needed again to try to
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violence clearly on the rise right now in iraq, now that u.s. troops aren't there to try to keep a lid on what's going on in the anbar province, for example. the situation has clearly gone from bad to worse. but make no mistake, american troops are not going back into iraq. so says the secretary of state, john kerry. and recent polls show america's changing mood. cbs news tracked the trend from november 2011 to december 2013. the top and bottom lines show a steady number who say the iraq war was not worth it, and a drop in those who say it was worth it. republicans call it more worthwhile than democrats or independents. a cnn or c-poll shows similar results. 62% of americans now say the u.s. made a mistake sending troops to iraq back in 2006. it was 55%. now we talk about iraq and what's going on with a senior fellow at stanford university's hoover institution.
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fuad, this was predictable, this violence, this battle that is unfolding right now between the shiite leadership of prime minister nouri al maliki and the sunni insurgents, some oh al qaeda linked. >> you know, you can say on one hand, it's a chronicle of a war foretold that we should have expected this impasse between the sunnis and the shiites in iraq. but decisions have been made, and some decisions made by none other than prime minister nuri maliki, proud minority, located in anbar, right next to syria, touched by the syrian rebellion and trends of politics in syria. he treats them like a conquered population. >> i was there in fallujah back in 2005, right at the tail end of the fighting that was going on.
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general petraeus was there, general satler, i was there with general abizade and you see some video of me walking around in fallujah. but even then, correct me if i am wrong, the reason many sunni tribal leaders were working with the u.s., u.s. taxpayers were putting literally millions of dollars of cash into their pockets to buy them off. is that right? >> well, that's exactly right. we bought them off, we hired them, we retained them. and the idea was that once we left, we passed them on to prime minister maliki. he would put them on government payroll, and thus create loyalty to the baghdad government among the sunnis. he did nothing of the sort. he has really ruled the anbar as a kind of alien territory. and that's really a tragedy of this. and then come the syrian rebellion. come the winds from syria. come the sunni rebellion in syria, i think we were bound to get to this point.
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>> you know, the u.s. decided during the final years of the bush administration to withdraw by the end of 2011. the obama administration went ahead and did so. they tried to get that status of forces agreement deal that would allow a residual u.s. military presence in iraq. but nouri al maliki was not allowing to give u.s. troops that remained in iraq immunity from their domestic prosecution. and that was unacceptable to the u.s. that's why the u.s. pulled out. why wasn't al maliki willing to work out a deal to keep 5 or 10,000 american troops in iraq? >> you know, woman, that's one of the great controversies of the iraq war. not how we went to iraq, that's controversial enough. but how we left iraq. in truth, there is an argument and real evidence for it, that the obama administration made al maliki an offer he was meant to refuse. they offered him a small force, residual force, that could
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hardly defend itself, let alone their views to him. we never negotiated in good faith. the obama administration, and let's face it, the democratic verdict of the election of 2008. obama administration was hell bent on leaving iraq. we left iraq. and i think we see what we see. >> well, my own sense, based on my interviews of a lot of folks who had a direct role in all of this, it seemed to me, correct me if i am wrong, fuad, you were my director of middle east studies, i respect you a great deal. it seemed the regime in baghdad, they were much more anxious to develop a relationship with ahmadinejad in neighboring iran than the u.s., which had invested so much blood and treasure in trying to help iraq. >> you know, wolf, that's the tragedy, if you will, of shiite history in iraq. the shiite had a chance. they could govern iraq in harmony and in cooperation with the other communities in iraq.
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they could govern iraq in a federal project in harmony with the sunnis in anbar and with the kurds in the north. nouri maliki chose a different path. and the appetite for him, he has become a dictator and we find ourselves tethered to maliki. and he is bidding for a third term this coming april as prime minister when the constitution of iraq specified two terms as the limit. and iran in april, a candidate of the supreme leader in iran and president obama, and of none other than bashar al assad in damascus. al maliki has been the great disappointment of the struggle for the new iraq. >> and iraq seems to be falling apart pretty much right now. it was totally, totally predictable, these tensions between tribal leaders, between sunnis and shiites and kurds, going on for centuries, if you will, but it's obviously coming to a floor once again. thanks very much. >> thank you, wolf. still ahead, a very
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now to the bitter cold that's gripping much of the nation here in washington right now, at least for now, 41 degrees. minneapolis, wind chills there, get this, they could hit 50 below, which means you could be just five minutes from frostbite. a similar story in chicago. all the way to nashville, tennessee. in fact, in atlanta, they have already closed city schools for tomorrow. let's check in once again with alexandra steele, tracking it all from the cnn severe weather center. what does it look like out there over the next 24 hours, alexandra? >> all right. let's show you. let's start in the deep south and also kind of address the northeast. and in the midwest, we have hit 50 below for wind chills. even more than that. currently in atlanta, it feels like 11. like 4 in birmingham. those numbers pale in comparison to the upper midwest. the 40 and 50 below wind chills. but for the south, this is substantial. especially tomorrow morning, you heard wolf just say, the schools
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are going to be closed tomorrow. low temperature in the morning will be 7. first single digits since 2003. if it goes 2 degrees colder than that, to 5, it will be the coldest since 1985 here in the southeast. but here's the good news. memphis at 16. warms to 45 by wednesday. atlanta, georgia, as well, in the 40s by wednesday. still below average. but doubling where we are now. all right, the northeast today in the 40s. the cold front moving through, as we speak. the colder air funneling in behind it. by 5:00 tonight, dropping 20 degrees into the 20s and 30s. but here's what happens for you, boston. tomorrow is your coldest day and kind of the axis of the cold polar air for you. high of 28 18 tomorrow. 25 wednesday, 14 in new york tomorrow. down from the 40s. here's the good news wolf. here's saturday, 40, 50s, and 60s. relief in sight.
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the northeast has a brutal cold 48 hours. >> we'll suffer and then enjoy. thanks very much, alexandra, for that. the flu is spreading across the country right now. if you didn't get a flu shot, it's not too late. who faces the greatest risk from this current outbreak? let's check in with cnn's elizabeth cohen. >> wolf, it's that time of year again, when the flu season starts to come to a peak. if you think the flu is something you just need to worry about if you're over 65, think again. in just one week, the number of states reporting widespread flu has more than doubled from ten states to 25. among the victims of the flu so far this season, 25-year-old ann phillips from south bend, indiana, who passed away on christmas eve. and 5-year-old roanan bergeronis, who died in portland, oregon. young people die from the flu every year, but this year it
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could turn out to be particularly bad, because the main flu strain out there is h1n1, what used to be called swine flu, and it disproportionately affects people under 65. but there is good news. >> so far, the main strain we're seeing is h1n1. fortunately, that strain is well covered by every one of the flu vaccines out there. >> that's right, h1n1, is in the flu shot, and it's not too late to get one. the centers for disease control and prevention recommends the flu vaccine for nearly everyone. it does take two weeks for the shot to build up immunity, so in the meantime, it's especially important to remember to wash your hands. now, parents need to remember that sometimes children will need two doses of the flu vaccine. if your child is 8 years old or younger, and this is their first flu shot, they'll need to get two doses. if they have already had a flu shot, they might need to get two doses. check with your doctor. wolf? >> good advice as usual. thank you. up next, the federal reserve is getting a new boss. the u.s. senate about to vote on
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one of the most powerful positions in washington.
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the holiday break is over for just about everyone, including the president of the united states. he's back here in washington, d.c. from two weeks in hawaii with his family. and one of the first things on his agenda for the new year, he's ramping up the push to try to extend emergency unemployment
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benefits for a lot of americans. 1.3 million americans, to be specific. jim acosta is joining us from the white house right now. i guess the question is, can the president get this done in the next few days? >> reporter: that is the question, wolf. we can tell you that gene sperling, director of the national economic council, made an appearance during the white house briefing in the last several minutes, and he was making the president's push and pitch for president obama, basically saying that the president is now working the phone lines, trying to get the last remaining senators that he needs lined up to push this through the senate. there is a procedural vote that was expected to happen later on today. not completely sure whether or not that vote will happen. it's expected to happen. but at this point, democrats, at least from what they're saying publicly, lack enough votes to get that through. they may need about a handful of republicans to jump on board. so presumably, that's what the president is working on, trying to line up those additional senators to get them on board. but one thing we should note, wolf, in the last 24 to 48 hours, you have seen republicans
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indicate they might be willing to sign on to this. rand paul was on one of the sunday talk shows yesterday, taking well, if there are offsets, budget cuts offsetting the cost of extending those unemployment benefits for the long term jobless, he would be willing to go along with that. but gene sperling during this press briefing a few moments ago saying the president wants this passed with no strings attached. and wolf, one thing we noticed, keeping in mind, this is the first press briefing of the new year here at the white house and first we have heard from this white house really since president obama held that year and news conference late december. check out what was very different inside the white house briefing room, and that is the press secretary, jay carney. jay carney came out, sporting a beard. usually he is a clean-shaven press secretary. not so much, wolf, as you can probably tell. his facial growth there resembles a certain anchor at cnn. i'm trying to think of the name. it's just not coming to me right now, wolf.
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>> he looks very young. that beard, did he give an explanation why he grew the beard on his vacation, or did he just say it was time for a change? >> reporter: he said that his wife, claire shipman, who works over at abc, said that she liked it. and that he was trying to resemble mark noeler, a little bit, trying to follow the fashion trend, long-time correspondent here it at the white house for cbs who also sports a much healthier beard, we should point out. so new things happening over here at the white house in this new year, wolf. >> well, if he keeps the beard, he can look forward to having it probably my shade at some point. i used to have a beard that color, but that was a while ago. let's see how long he keeps the beard, and we'll move on from there. jim acosta, thanks very, very much. let's move on to an important story here. janet yellen, she may be a political appointee, but what she does at the federal reserve will have a huge impact on all of our money.
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alison kosik joining us from the new york stock exchange, right now. she has a vote to be confirmed later this afternoon, around 5:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. eastern. i assume she will be confirmed as the first woman to head the federal reserve. alis alison, as you know, this is probably one of the top two or three most important jobs in washington, d.c. she'll have an enormous impact on money, on markets. what's the expectation where you are right now? >> you know, you look at her job, and it's true. it's let literally one of the most important jobs in the world. and when you look at the fed, two main goals. it's supposed to keep unemployment low and keep inflation in check. but now add one more to the list. yellen is going to have to figure out how to unwind the fed's massive stimulus program that's been going on for five years now, pumping trillions into the economy to try to get it moving. what could happen is as she tries to scale this program down, it could lead to higher mortgage rates, is something
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that not a lot of people are used to, record lows from 8% during the housing boom. then unemployment. this is really her top concern. she has said that. unemployment is above 7%. has been for five years, despite all that money being pumped into the economy. so if she is confirmed, yellen's job is to get that down. and then finally, there are interest rates. that affects you, it affects me. if you're taking out a car loan, a credit card, you've got to take out a business loan. interest rates are right there. so expect -- they're expected to stay at historic lows. but as the economy gets better, what yellen is looking to do is to raise them. so if confirmed, she has got a big job ahead, and how to make the economy stronger. wolf? >> she will clearly be one of the most powerful people in the whole wide world. you're absolutely right for that. alison, thank you. here's an incredible claim from a long-time cia lawyer and now an author. he says -- he could have stopped waterboarding before it ever started.
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days or this month will announce what reforms he likes, what reforms he doesn't like. >> that's right. and we're hearing some oh of the things they have more positive view towards. one, as you mentioned, the idea of putting a public advocate on the fisa court, secret court where decisions are made. because up to this point, really, it's just been lawyers making the case for the administration, and no one offering the counter argument. when you look it's the mostardent critics and he like other advocates say that's not enough. they want to see more. even with the reforms, it leaves as the default setting and gathering all this information with limitations as opposed to
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justifying it before they get it. >> it's not just a lib cal democrat. he's an independent really, but caucuses with the democrats. rand paul, the conservative republican senator is outspoken and i want to play what he said over the weekend. >> personally he would come home for some penalty of a few years in prison which is not unlike what james clapper said together would become further enlightened as a country over what we should and should not do. >> general clapper is in charge and should be in a prison cell with snowden who leaked all the nsa documents that is generating a lot of buzz. >> i think paul is in the minority of for putting 1y5i78z clapper in prison for allegedly lying to congress for the comments last month. he's not the only one.
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you have other gop members of the house and calling for an investigation into clapper's comments. as for snowden however, even the mostardent critics of spying are not arguing for him to be released out. bernie sanders said maybe a plea bargain to acknowledge the things we revealed, but even he believes that snowden broke his oath and should serve a penalty. >> he's going to be joining me later in "the situation room." thanks very much. good to have you back. a man who served as a top lawyer for the cia is making a startling claim in his book and to a political manage zeen. john rizzo said he could have stopped waterboarding and enhanced interrogation techniques and many people call torture before it started. he is joining us now with more on the story. quite a claim. what's going on? >> john rizzo work as a lawyer
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for over 30 years and in this book he writes when officials at the agency's counter terrorism center described to him what they wanted to do with others, he was speechless. he said he never heard of some of those things before. there was the insult slap designed to humiliate and waterboarding, strapping the detainee on the bench and feet elevate and a cloth placed over the forehead and the eyes and water poured over the face for about 20 to 40 seconds from a distance of 12 to 24 inches. that's to simulate drowning. john rizzo describes cramped confinement techniques. one involves placing a detainee in a small box where he had to curl up for about two hours. here's a quote. for the small box, the interrogator would have the option to place a harmless insect inside. i couldn't resist interjecting. why an insect?
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>> he hates bugs, it will be harmless, but he won't know. he could have squelched this if he wanted to, but they would have a lot of legal problems if they carried them out. he decided to sign off on it because this was right after 9/11. there was a lot of fear of a possible attack. they believed others had information about the plots and he couldn't have lived with himself if another attack heard and they haven't gotten the information out. the cia and former director not commenting on the book. >> i know you are working the story and get more for us later in "the situation room." dennis rodman is now back in north korea and brought other former nba players along with him for a special birthday celebration for kim jung un, the leader there. we are taking a closer look. ay,! i'm here to get the lady of the house back on her feet. [ all gasp ] oj, veggies -- you're cool.
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. >> dennis rodman's team arrived in korea to get ready for the big game. we have more on what's going on. >> he turns 31 wednesday and basketball bad boy dennis rodman and his team of nba old timers headed there to help him celebrate. rodman is describing this trip
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as basketball diplomacy. >> he ruled out for the missionary who is doing hard time in a north korean labor camp. >> i'm not saying you can't be. >> sports. i'm going with everybody to try to interact with him. i liked the guy. >> rodman and his buddies are scheduled to shoot hoops with the north korean national squad. it's a treat for kim who is an afit basketball fan. on his last trip, he spend i few days coaching the north koreans. as they wait said, they insisted the focus was on the game and not politics. they are hopeful they can build bridges. >> the sport is what we are
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going for. sport is something that cancels and conquers and borders all lines. it's an exciting film. >> charles d smith also seemed optimistic. >> the extreme views come about because most people have not been there. because people have a sense of fear of the unknown. >> critics see the trip as a publicity stunt and highlight north korea's record of human rights abuses. the all-stars just want to play ball. >> i'm looking forward to playing and putting on a show. >> we loved the game and try to spread the quality that the game brings. >> only last month he sent his uncle to the firing squad on changes of corruption and treason. that got his irish sponsors to
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pull out, but he remains unphased. >> let's get along. >> that was a report from cnn reporting from beijing. i will be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room." newsroom continues right now with brooke baldwin. >> hi, there. i'm brooke baldwin and we are live outside world headquarters in atlanta. beautiful blue skies, but it's cold, cold, cold in atlanta. tonight's low is 5 degrees. just perspective. i was born and raised in atlanta and the last time the city hit single digits, it was a decade ago. it was solid like a sheet.