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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  February 12, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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burglary and is being held on $20,000 bond. we can't yet confirm a date for his court appearance and whether he hired an attorney. i'm don lemon. stay safe out there, everyone. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. skiing, snowboarding, luge. i'm not talking about winter olympics. i'm talking about how i might have to get home tonight. i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the national lead. mid-atlantic, you're next. the snow, sleet, and ice that shut down the south from texas all the way to north carolina is climbing up the east coast. if misery loves company, there's going to be a lot of love to go around. the world lead. why now, after all this time? why did a video surface three weeks ago proving that the only known american p.o.w. is still alye after we heard nothing for three years? well, "the daily beast's" josh rogan says he knows why, and he's here to break the story on
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the lead. and the pop culture lead. new rule. whenever bill maher launches a campaign to mess with congress, he must stop by the lede to explain it for rest of us. he joins us this hour to discuss his plan to unseat some as of now unsuspecting member of congress. good afternoon. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. did you hear the sochi games are having trouble keeping enough snow around? well, they are welcome to ours. this is what the roads look like right now in raleigh, north carolina. a massive traffic jam. in the coming hours, washington, d.c., philadelphia, new york city, probably boston, too, pretty much every major city in the northeast is in the bull's-eye as this deadly winter storm that has closed the south for business barrels on. at least five deaths are blamed on the storm after it went through texas, louisiana, mississippi, and alabama. it's far from over in georgia, where atlanta looks like a
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big-scale glass menagerie, everything coated in ice. atlanta on the left two weeks ago, and now on the right. store shelves are picked clean in the southeast. at least 420,000 customers have already lost power. throughout the country, more than 3,200 flights are canceled. we're only really in the middle of this. cnn meteorologist jennifer gray is standing by in decatur. ed lavendandera is braving the treacherous roads. and chad myers is in the weather center. jen? >> reporter: we have seen the ice come down since about 5:00 this morning. it has been sleeting. we've seen periods of freezing rain. we've also seen a couple of snowflakes in decatudecatur, bu ice is the concern. decatur is an older neighborhood. we've got the older trees. it's notorious for the branchs to come down and people to lose
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power. most people in decatur still have power, but this is the concern. look at this branch. you can see the ice accumulating on the branches. this is what we're seeing all over town. and this is just a tiny one. imagine those big older trees behind me and even those power lines. it only takes about half an inch of ice to add 500 pounds of pressure to those lines and then they just snap. you lose power. and so that's the concern. we have a good 12 more hours of this, jake, as we go through the next overnight hours into tomorrow morning. we're expected to change into snow. could see 3 inches of snow by tomorrow morning. i'm going to turn things over the my colleague, ed lavandera, in atlanta. how are things for you, ed? >> reporter: well, we've made our way east of atlanta near decatur, and we've come across this neighborhood where you see georgia and power crews have come by and shut down this road and started clearing up the roadways here. we found this crew that is
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working on clearing power lines from these trees that have collapsed. as you see, the crews work here and i'll head over this way as well. these crews are working as hard as they can to make sure that ice doesn't collect on those power lines. as we've driven around these neighborhoods, the roads very slick. the good news, not a lot of people on the roadways. the fact is ice is collecting on the power lines. as we've driven around these neighborhoods we've seen pockets completely without power. that's what they're going to be dealing with throughout the rest of the day and into tonight. with more on the forecast, i'll toss it to myers myechad myers severe weather center. >> we still have quite a bit of sleet and freezing rain along i-20 into the carolinas. those ugly pictures out of raleigh because the snow started at 2:00 in the afternoon, just like taent's snow started in the afternoon. atlanta, you're in good shape because your precip started at 2:00 a.m. everybody stayed home. jake, for you, the snow is on
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the way. it is coming for tonight. there will be a little bit of ice under the snow and then snow on top of that so you can't see it. you have all the great things going for you, especially west of the city. you could pick um 0 inches. eastern shore, maybe 2 inches, ma's it. a big line along i-95. new york city will see some snow too. but new york city mixes in, the rain mixes in far while so you don't have big, huge numbers. you won't are 10 or 12 inches in the city. might get 6. going to be heavy because the rain and snow will mix together as the low moves off the coast. >> chad flyers along with jennifer gray and ed lavandera, thanks so much. how prepared is is georgia this time around? joining me now is the governor of georgia, nathan deal. last time your state got hit by a big winter storm i don't think i need to tell you it was a disaster. can georgians trust you, your administration, and the city of atlanta to do better this time
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around? >> well, we've already demonstrated that we're making all the necessary preparations for the storm that is already on top of us in some parts of the state and that will intensify as the day goes along. we are prepared. we think we're ready e to do everything that is possible with the resources that are available to keep georgians safe. the biggest thing is georgians are cooperating. they are staying at home. they are avoiding getting on the roadways. and that's been a big help to everybody. >> what are your biggest concerns right now? is it power outages, icy roads, people not having a warm place to go? >> well, we're trying to address all of those issues. ice is the biggest danger. and right now we are seeing sleet and freezing rain that is going to intensify and it's going to move apparently in an easterly and southerly direction in our state. augusta, georgia, along the border, next to south carolina the one to have areas that's going to hit pretty hard.
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but we are making sure that we have resources available. we have 11 state parks that have fails to house people if necessary. we have national guard armories that are already being prepared and are available. we have food supplies and water resours from the federal government that we can call on if necessary. we have the national guard engaged to assist as well as to distribute those kinds of supplies. the national guard working with our georgia emergency management agency, which is coordinating all of our efforts, as well as our state patrol, who are providing the safety and security on the roadways. we think we have a great team and they're performing admirably. >> governor, forecasters have called this storm historic proportions, said it's potentially catastrophic. so far has it lived up to the hype? >> well, it is certainly getting there. as we see more and more people lose power, one that is one of
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those conveniences we've all become accustomed to and we want to make sure that it's restored as quickly as possible. that is the responsibility of the individual power companies. and they have also brought in resources and personnel from outside of our state, and they're going to be responding as quickly as they can. again, it's important for people to stay out of their way, stay away from any downed power line, allow these people to do their job and they'll get your power on as kwkly as they can. >> what is the general advice for people if they do lose people, especially in the middle of the snigt in should they hunker down and use blankets or seek refuge elsewhere? >> well, all of those options. we expect people to use their own good judgment, and georgians have a great abundance of that. we think they will make the smartest choice that is available to them and they think is practical. for older people and those in nursing home, we are already
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working cooperatively to make sure if their power goes up that they have backup generators so those in nursing homes will not be in jeopardy there. but it's going to be a variety of responses. we don't think that the duration of this will be all that terribly long, but it will probably be well into friday, maybe even saturday before some of the ice and the snow has actually all melted. >> governor deal, thanks for taking the time. we'll all be thinking and praying for you down there. >> thank you very much, jake. >> back to that traffic jam we were watching in raleigh earlier in the show. raleigh, north carolina, and listen to wral. >> -- has made it into the building. jeff, you were stuck out in this as well. you've got an update on the basketball game for us. >> we just heard from the university of north carolina that says the duke -- >> obviously they dipped out of the weather coverage we wanted to listen to. we e will continue to follow this massive storm as it heads up the east coast including north carolina, where cars are barely crawling on the highway. plus an internal battle for
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everyone to see as republicans ban together against one of their own on the senate floor.
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where he will welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. the politics lead. he vowed to fight again but did me mean to fight against his own party? senator ted cruz's threat to filibuster the clean debt deal that just passed the senate has suddenly put members of his own party in a very uncomfortable position. joining me now with more to talk about it, peter baker, white house correspondent for "the new york times," karolyi, white house correspondent for "wall street journal," and cnn chief political analyst gloria borger. so, gloria, the house passes is clean debt deal, it goes to the senate, the senate was all set to pass it with just 50 votes, democrats -- >> all democrats. >> all democrats.
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then what happens? >> then enter senator ted cruz, who was not mister congeniality today against republicans saying i'm going to threat on the filibuster this, which means you need ten more votes. >> 60 votes. >> which meant they needed to find five republicans to walk the plank. so he was forcing members of his own party to take a politically perilous vote to raise the debt ceiling without commensurate spending cuts and he forced members of his own party to do that so they're not happy with him. on the procedural vote, he even forced senator mitch mcconnell and senator john cornyn, both of whom are in tough primary fights on the procedural fight, to vote raising for the debt limit, although later they were able to reverse their vote. but still -- >> no republican actually voted in the senate to raise the debt ceiling but they voted to allow it to proceed. what does this do for the tea
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party republicans running against john cornyn of texas and mitch mcconnell of kentucky? >> it gives them ammunition. try to explain what you just explained to the average voter. nobody actually voted for the debt limit but voted for closure. >> sound like john kerry in 2004. >> right. voted for it before i voted against it. it puts them all in a tough spot. >> why would he do this? for the principle of the thing? shoo on the one hand, you believe this is a bad thing do, you want to be willing to take on your own party, not just the other party. a lot of people in washington oppose something only when it's the other party doing it. ted cruz is stand ong what this he believes to be principle. on the other hand, like gloria said, he e made a lot of enemies today. won't serve him well in the next few to months and years. >> he was at the center of the government shutdown, which didn't go so well for republicans. and the republicans who learned that lesson are looking at ted
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cruz today and going, oh my god, didn't you learn the lesson of the government shutdown? if we didn't raise the diehl, we would defategets blamed? >> let me play devil's advocate. there is this kabuki, this charade. okay, bring the clean debt ceiling over and just democrats will vote for it and the rest of us republicans won't. we'll vote against it. and then ted cruz says but that's not what you actually think. you actually want it and support it. and 12 republicans have to vote for the procedural vote to support it. in a way, again, i'm playing devil's advocate here, in a way, what he did was very prince led. >> it alsoipled in the sense it plays better outside of washington where people are frustrated with washington and see that kabuki going on. somebody who's willing to stand up and say this is what i think and actually get behind it probably has appeal outside of washington because it goes
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against that insider game. >> also last man standing as republicans conduct this sort of organized retreat from showdowns since the government shut down john boehner's retreated, mitch mcconnell, ted cruz can say i'm the only guy left who stands. >> it's about him. in 2016 he has something to say. >> speaking of 2016, rand paul, republican with a libertarian side to him, he today brought suit against the obama administration for the national security agency's data collection program. here he is earlier today. >> on behalf of myself, freedom works, and everyone in america that has a phone, we are filing suit against the president of the united states in defense of the fourth amendment. >> he is filing lawsuit against obama and obama's national security agency director, et cetera. but this is also a program that
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republicans support, a program that meta data i believe beegan under george bush. >> it exposes more divisions within the republican party. it's in that same vein as what ted cruz is doing on the debt ceiling and it's also in that same vein of what ted cruz is doing in that it's geared towards 2016 and the fight he's taking on in terms of the nsa is something that appeals to a constituency that he's looking to stake out in the 2016 election. >> peter, there are a lot of people on the left who agree with rand paul on this, who believe that the meta data collection should stop and the record should be erased. i would not be surprised if we saw some -- i guess i'd be surprised if i saw democratic lawmakers but i would bnlt surprised if say glen greenwald joined it. >> you have alliances of sorts. aclu, civil liberties type folks and the rand paul libertarians. it crosses different party lines.
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they're against the senator, the dianne feinstein, centrist democrat, mike rogers, republican national security hawk wings of their party. it's an unusual alignment in an era we've been so polarized along party lines. >> guess who rand paul had lunch with today? the attorney general of the united states, eric holder. >> he did? >> he did. so the day he sues the government they're actually deciding to have lunch because there are issues they -- speaking of just for agreeing with each other there are issue ls they actually agree on. >> mandatory minimums. >> and disenfranchisement of felons, et cetera. he was having lunch with the attorney general this afternoon and suing him this morning. >> this is washington. >> we're going to be talking a lot about ted cruz and rand paul and what they did today, a little possibly to do with 2016. thanks for joining us. when we come back, we are still following the massive storm and more on that. plus, he's the only known
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american prisoner of war and until recently nobody knew if he was still alye. why did the taliban make this secret video and give it to the u.s. military? one reporter says he knows why. he'll join me next. later, an unbelievable ending to the closest downhill medal race in history. honestly? my kids were always on my laptop. i didn't think i could buy them their own, let alone for under $300. but this asus with windows is lightweight and has everything they need -- not like chromebooks that can't install office
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welcome back to "the lead." we're following the storm out of raleigh, north carolina. at least five deaths have been blamed on the storm, at least 420,000 customers have lost power just in the southeast. people are abandoning their cars in the raleigh area as conditions become impassable. it evokes images of the debacle in atlanta two weeks ago. over the next several hours and into tomorrow, washington, d.c., new york, philadelphia, boston all in the path of the storm. let's go to dan howe, assistant city manager of raleigh. he's on the phone. dan, what is going on in the research triangle there?
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>> well, everybody knew the storm was coming, and we had warned teem to stay home. luckily, the schools were all closed today. but the weather was really pretty good this morning. it was cold but clear. there was nothing on the roads so a lot of people came to work. right about noontime, about 12:15, the snow started with a fury, and it snowed extremely hard for the first hour. everybody who was at work decided they were going to go home at that point so they all ended up on the roads at the same time. because the temperature here is in the low to mid-20s right now, i think we're around 23 the last time i checked, we've got a windchill of about 12 degrees, the salt and brine that were put on the streets well in advance really are not being very effective most of the streets are covered right now and it's making travel really difficult. there are a number of roads that are pretty clogged out there. a lot of traffic is move bug very slowly. and some people have given up
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and decided that they weren't going to try and stick it out and they're looking for shelter close to where their cars were. the city has full crews out right now, as does north carolina department of transportation. but unfortunately some of our own trucks are stuck in the same traffic jams that a lot of other people are and they're having a hard time getting to the roads that need to be cleared. >> dan, what is your advice to the motorists who are stuck in this massive traffic jam in the raleigh, durham area? should they stay in their cars and continue trying to get home, or is it a better bet as you see some of them have already done, to abandon their cars on the side of the road and hope to seek she felter nearby? >> well, it's hard to give blanket advice to anybody. if it appearings they're going to be there for hours and there's someplace nearby you can get shelter, that appears to be safe, i would certainly encourage people to do that. in general, though, i feel like
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the traffic will break loose at some point in time. unfortunately the conditions are worsening as the snow has turned to sleet right now and it's certainly not getting any better and probably will not be getting any better for a long time. so it is a very dangerous situation out there. we certainly do not encourage people to take risks. there are -- many public buildings, firestations, other public build rgs open. and if you do need help, those are the places to go. >> i assume the advice is do not get on the road right now. if you need to go somewhere, do not drive. if there's public transportation working, then try to do that or try to stay where you are. is that right? >> i would absolutely say stay where you are. our own buss are not running at this time. they got caught in traffic jams. we had a couple of buses that slid off the side of the road and so we have ceased our public transportation system now for a period of time. so i would encourage everybody
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who is in a warm, safe place to just stay there. there's really no reason to be out on the roads at this point in time and you're certainly are going to be putting yourself and others at risk if you do get out in a vehicle in these kind of conditions. >> you are saying that you saw the lesson of what happened in atlanta. you told people, the city told people, do not go to work today. they did anyway. >> well, yeah. i mean, this being the country that it is, we can't stop people from doing what they want to do. and we had plenty of warning. we were as well prepared as you can be in the south for an event like this. it was kind of the perfect storm of sort of low temperatures and instant heavy snow and everybody trying to get on the roads at the same time. ironically this happened to us a few years back. it was a lesson that might have been valuable for atlanta and other southern states where we had the same thing happen a few
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years ago. the problem was then that schools let out all at once and made the situation even worse. we've learned from that. the schools were closed today. but, you know, you just can't keep people from getting out on the roads when they feel like they're ready to go home. and as soon as it started snowing everybody decided, well, maybe i better go home. >> as has been said, those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. thank you for joining us. stay safe and best of luck to the citizens of your area. >> thank you very much. >> when we e come back, we'll continue to follow this breaking news story. no matter how busy your morning you can always do something better for yourself.
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>> welcome back to the "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we're following the deadly snowstorm in north carolina which is causing a rush hour traffic jam. people are abandoning their cars as conditions become impassable
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on the highways. the pictures are all too reminiscent from the ones we saw from atlanta two weeks ago. let's get to chad myers in the cnn weather center. the images out of raleigh and the surrounding area are crazy. remind us what exactly the forecast was. >> i went back to see did somebody bust, did the computers do badly? no. a half inch of snow by 1:00 p.m. that happened. four inches with sleet by 7:00 p.m. that's happening now. then three-quarters of an inch of ice on top of that later tonight. so it was an exactly great forecast but it's the same issue atlanta had two weeks ago, the snow started in the middle of the day. people out, there oh, i can handle this, i can do this. let's do one more thing. let's go get something else. all of a sudden, everybody's caught out because the roads stop, literally i've seen some of these pictures out of the traffic cams and people are doing two on the highways. that's it. and it takes hours to get home. the same thing we went through here in atlanta less than two
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weeks ago. >> what's the lesson for people up the coast, washington, d.c., philadelphia, newark, new jersey. do they need to get home instead of making the mistake people in raleigh did? >> hopefully it's closing time and people are getting out of town. here's richmond, virginia, short pump in the west end, already snowing, down at the southside you are seeing snow a good half inch from fredericksburg you'll see more snow. d.c. still probably an hour away or so before you get southern suburbs. but d.c. is a tricky forecast and i've been trying to tweet this out the past couple hours because along the shore, eastern shore and all to annapolis, probably 2 to 4 inches. greenville, probably 5 to 7. right through the city 7 to 10. reston, virginia, probably 12 because of how much warm air is going to wrap into the forecast right in d.c. the same story is going to
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happen in philadelphia, the same story is going to happen in new york the farther you are inland, the more snow you're going to get. so tomorrow in d.c. you have to plan accordingly, it's a good idea to not go anywhere or, jake, did you bring your little blowup pillow and mattress you can sleep at the bureau tonight because that's probably what you'll need to do. >> i have them on me at all times. chad myers, thanks so much. appreciate it. joining us on the phone, we have hotel manager milton hamilton from the holiday inn express right off the interstate. milton, tell me what you're seeing there and whether or not the hotel is already booked from people just giving up. >> that is correct. we're having people that are just pulling on the side of the road, abandoning their cars and walking to our property. we're now at full capacity and so are our competitors. people need to stay put and not a knot try to venture out in this weather. some people may have to stay at work but best to be at work and not on the highways. >> how many rooms do you normally have booked in a time like this as opposed to today when you're at full capacity?
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>> well, typically we are at full capacity during the week just because we're a corporate hotel. but most of our corporate guests have canceled reservations so we were expecting to be slower, but we just got slammed with these people coming in from all different directions who can't make it home. >> and what are they telling you about their experience on the road? >> they're saying it's terrible. one guy said it took him about two hours just to get about ten miles, and that's when he finally gave up and pulled over. there are accidents all up and down the interstate. and i hear parts of interstate 40 have been blocked off because there have been so many accidents. >> let me bring in chad myers from your severe weather center. we wants to ask you a question also, milton. >> milton, what do you do with your employees? do you send them out and say try to get home? do you have rooms for them? will they sleep in the hotel? all of a sudden all of this help staff is stuck where they thought they weren't going to be just a couple hours ago. >> we follow the forecast and we
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e prepare. we have a team of staff members that are going to stay on property and those are the only people we requested to come in to work today, the people that would stay overnight. we asked them to start coming in this morning to arrive by 9:00 or 10:00 before the weather happened. >> all right. milton hamilton, chad myers, thanks so much. a quick break. we're not going to go away from this story. more on this breaking news. the storm that is slamming north carolina right now.
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welcome back to "the lead." we're following the news out of raleigh, north carolina, where that deadly snowstorm is causing a huge rush hour traffic jam. people are abandoning their cars in the snow in raleigh in the surrounding area, just like people did during that bedeath back until atlanta two weeks ago. we'll return to the story in a moment but now it's time for our world lead. army sergeant beau bergdahl is the lone american prisoner of war. military officials believe he's being held in pakistan by an
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allied group of militants with tie os the taliban. bergdahl has not been seen for nearly three years until cnn reported last month that the u.s. military had received a proof of life video featuring bergdahl. now we have some major new developments on why and how it was obtained. josh rogan is here to break the story, senior correspondent for national security and politics for "the daily beast." what have you learned? why was this proof of life video made? why was it shot? >> what we were able to report today is that the u.s. government requested the proof of life from the taliban as a precondition to restarting talks over a prisoner swap. the idea here is that the u.s. would get beau bergdahl and the taliban would get the release of five senior taliban commanders being held in prison in guantanamo bay, cuba. this is an idea that was negotiated in 2011 when those talks broke town. now the u.s. is trying to start them again. the added wring this will time is this is linked to the signing of the bilateral security agreement between the u.s. and afghanistan, because president
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karzai wants the taliban to come to peace talks, and one way to get them there is by giving them thing like the le re lease of their commanders. >> there has been, no surprise, no official confirmation on the record about this in the national security council spokesman caitlin hayden said, we can't discuss the dee tails of our efforts but there is no doubt we work every day using our military intelligence and diplomatic tools to see sergeant bergdahl returned home safely. as you say, military officials told you the development is related to outgoing afghan president hamid karzai trying to get him to sign the bilateral security agreement. how would this encourage him to sign this? >> right. we should add that president car si says a lot of different things to a lot of different people. but what he said recently is he won't sign the agreement until peace talks with the taliban start. he doesn't want to go out as the president who ceded to foreign powers. he wants to go out as the president who made peace. he's asking for a number of things, the pakistanis to release senior taliban leader, he's releasing his own taliban people in afghanistan, and he's
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asking us to release taliban commanders in guantanamo bay. he thinks these will be carrots that will entice the taliban to come to the table. the problem is according to the taliban, they don't really want to talk to karzai right now. they see his position getting weaker as u.s. forces leave. they're more likely to wait it out and see what happens after 2014 when most u.s. forces leave afghanistan. >> turning to syria, the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons told cnn that as of today 11% of syria's chemical weapons are out of syria. that's certainly an improvement from the 4% that were up. but what's your response? still a very small number. >> i talked to some u.s. officials today about this and they said they're frustrated with the pace of the removal of weapons from syria, they believe the regime is slow with the removal and they see all the deadlines especially the one in june will be missed. james clapper, the head of this national intelligence, told congress yesterday that those chemical weapons stockpiles are vulnerable to takeover by
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extremists in northern syria. so this is a very serious problem getting much worse and the longer the regime stalls the longer they stay in power and the larger the risk of these chemical weapons being used against allies. >> josh, again weather a scoop for us. thank you so much. appreciate it. >> you bet. >> joining us on the phone right now, back to our national lead, north carolina, charlotte, north carolina, cnn correspondent david mattingly, we've heard a lot about the disastrous weather in the raleigh-durham, chapel hill area where there are people abandoning their cars by the side of the road because traffic is so impassable. what is the weather like in charlotte? are they better prepared, the officials there in charlotte? >> the officials here have been very proactive. they saw this storm coming. they were getting salt solution poured on the roads 48 hours before the first snowflake even fell here. and it's paying off. the streets are still passable around the city.
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i was able to drive around a little bit a little while ago and see some of the areas of the interstate. there are some part where is obviously there are some problems. but for the most part the roads are still passable. i wouldn't call them safe, but they are passable. we're not seeing a great deal of congestion in the central city part here like we are seeing developing at raleigh where you have lines of traffic just gridlocked on some of the major highways there. we actually talked to an official with the department of transportation who says they are now trying to get plows and salt trucks to those stranded motorists on those highways around raleigh, but that equipment is also having a difficult time navigating through the gridlock. so on the surface it's sounding somewhat like with what we saw in atlanta a couple of weeks ago, that they were caught a bit by surprise by the suddenness of the storm, and now we're hoping that these people do not have to
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end up spend eing the night on the expressway like the people in atlanta did. >> chad myers at the severe weather center, david, went back and looked at the forecast and the forecast for the raleigh-durham area was exactly as it ended up being. it just was that even though the officials had salted the roads and prepared, lots of people went to work today. thankfully the schools are closed so no school children or school buses are stuck at school. was that different in charlotte, north carolina? did people not go to work there? >> we saw some people coming to work here. of course this is a big banking town, normally very busy downtown during the day. it was very light with people coming into work this morning and most left at noon today, and that's about the time we saw the heavy snowfall coming down. it came down hard and fast in about an hour or so. the city streets were completely covered over. we've already had several passes or at least in the area where i am, several passes by snowplows, but now it seems the traffic has
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thinned out greatly and if there are still people here in this town they will probably have a much more difficult time getting home as the sun's gone down, it's getting colder and the snow is switching to sleet. >> all right. the advice we're getting from city officials in the raleigh-durham area is to stay where you are, whether it's at work or restaurant or a bar, stay there, do not try to drive home. do not seek public transportation. the buss in the raleigh-durham area are also stuck in this weather. david mattingly in north carolina. we'll stay with this breaking news story. north carolina of course brought to a standstill by this deadly winter storm. hey guys! sorry we're late. did you run into traffic? no, just had to stop by the house to grab a few things. you stopped by the house? uh-huh. yea. alright, whenever you get your stuff, run upstairs, get cleaned up for dinner. you leave the house in good shape? yea. yea, of course. ♪ [ sportscaster talking on tv ] last-second field go-- yea, sure ya did.
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welcome back to "the lead." we're following some breaking news out of the raleigh, north
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carolina, area. you're looking at pictures from wra wlshgs that deadly storm is causing a huge rush hour traffic jam. people are abandoning their cars in the snow just like people did in atlanta two weeks ago. joining us on the phone is someone who just got out of the nasty traffic. john, what did you see? were there a lot of accidents? >> there were. there were tons of fender benders, people abandoning their vehicles, tractor-trailers unable to get up hills and just spinning their cheel wheels, not able to go anywhere. >> how were you able to get home? >> patience and a warm cup of coffee. it normally takes 20 minutes from work to my house took at and hour and a half, hour and 45 minutes. >> people were abandoning their cars i take it? >> literally. yep. literally. just abandoning them at the street, at intersection, and
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just walking. just walking. >> we spoke earlier today, john, to dan howe, the assistant city manager of raleigh. he e said that the residents of the raleigh area had been warned that the snowstorm was coming. the schools had been closed. roads had been salted. but people still went out to work anyway and then only left work after it started snowing and that's the problem. is that accurate? were you warned that today was going to be bad and you should avoid the roads? >> oh, yeah. definitely. definitely. we knew it was coming in two, three days out. but as soon as the first snowfall hit the ground, it was an exodus to the street. everyone wanted to go home. luckily the schools were closed. so it was just a matter of people trying to get home from work. >> thankfully the raleigh area joined -- closed the schools. >> yesterday. >> ahead of time.
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john, thanks so much. so glad you're okay. joining us on the phone right now first sergeant jeff gordon, the public information officer for the north carolina state highway patrol. sir, how bad are things out there? moo the roads especially in the raleigh-durham area are in pretty bad shape right now. basically what we saw here is we've been promoting this storm for probably the past three days. and here in the raleigh-durham area we could see precipitation this morning and probably around 12:00 when the snow started to fall, and as a result we had a large influx of people that have commuted into work and various other locations and then trying to leave. as a result we had vehicles that would get stuck on the highway. >> first sergeant, how strongly did the city advise businesses not to open today? >> be've been basically educating the public on the dangers of this system.
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as you may or may not know, this system was actually a two-punch system. we had a low that came through proktly one to two days and this is the second low that came through. so we've been promoting this and educating people to be on their ps and qs and take this weather seriously. we had some know impacts in the western part of the state and yesterday in the evening we had a great impact in what we call the sand hill region, which is around the coastal areas. and just as forecasts predicted, this storm did form and it did dop precipitation. so all the officials did what they were supposed to to, the schools did what they were supposed to do. just a matter of inclement weather. but we all worked feverishly as we can to expe e diet for these people who work on the highways. >> first sergeant gordon, i know the advice for people who are at work or restaurants or stores is is do not get into your car, do
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not get on the road. what is your advice for people who are stuck in that horrific traffic? >> well, the first thing you can do -- and most people have smartphones. i would suggest people contact their loved ones and emergency officials to let them know wh where they're at. the other thing is you want to preserve your gas. one suggestion is basically to run your engine for approximately 15 minute, then turn it off. that way you can save your fuel. and then of course always roll down your window a little bit to keep airflowing in and out and just sit tight. we don't suggest people get out and venture on the roadways which could possibly result in a fatality or injury if you get on the highway. we're taking this very seriously. we're working just as hard as we can to get these people off the roadways and we'll continue that. we ask for patience and understanding as we go through the next 24 hours. >> first sergeant jeff gordon with the north carolina state highway patrol. thanks so much.
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i want to stay on the phones because we had the mayor from north carolina on the line with us, mayor nat robertson. mayor, what did you do to prepare your city for this? >> hey, jake. good afternoon. yesterday at 3:00 we declared a state of emergency which basically opens us up for any type of state or federal aid in case things really get bad. we put a fair amount of ice and brine on the road, so when the ice and sleet and the nasty stuff does fall it will hopefully melt much faster. >> mayor nat robertson, thank you so much. i have to go right now in light of our breaking news coverage on the winter storm crippling the south, we will regrettably not have time to share our interview with bill maher. i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." >>

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