tv John King USA CNN February 29, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EST
good evening. i'm john king. tonight breaking news as devastating storms sweep across the midwest. at this hour they're heading for the southeast and the mid-atlantic states. in their wake, at least nine people are dead tonight. among the hundreds of structures damaged, a hospital in southern illinois. also tonight an about face from north korea's new leaders. they're stopping their nuclear weapons program in exchange for weapons program in exchange for u.s. food aid. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com we begin with tonight's breaking news. a line of killer storms hitting the southeast and mid-atlantic states right now. as families in at least five states survey what's left of their homes and prepare to bury the dead. three people died as the storm swept through missouri before sunrise after catching people by surprise in kansas. >> i was sitting there watching tv. the tv went off. so i got up to go in the kitchen and get a cup of coffee. and all of a sudden, boy, the windows went out just like a big
shotgun went off. and i told my wife, hit the floor. she says, i'm down there already. >> today's most devastating losses are in southern illinois. officials in harrisburg say a tornado with winds of up to 170-mile-per-hour stayed on the ground for several miles killing at least six people, injuring around 100. at one point it hit the hospital. after sur vague the devastation to his town the mayor and fire chief spoke to reporters just a short time ago. >> this morning the city of harrisburg had a horrific event. we have suffered the loss of lives. we've suffered many injuries. and we've suffered millions of dollars worth of damage. this is something that you never want to see happen in your community. we watched as it happened to joplin, missouri last year. several of our people from this area went there to help. and today we find ourselves in need. >> we did have some fatalities which we couldn't control.
but we did. nd we're able to get a lot of people out of the houses. just unreal. it's like a war zone if you haven't seen that area there. >> the destruction of this storm system is quite far-reaching. here's one man's story from greenville, kentucky. he went back home after a tornado put seven stitches in his chin and four staples in his head. >> when they say you hear a train you do. i got up and took two steps off the couch and then me and the two dogs i have and the trailer started rolling down the hill. and you can see what's left. and after i rolled five times, i can remember everything about it. i was -- once it hit the ground on the fifth time everything just -- i saw daylight. and i was sitting up against the stove down there just leaned up with my back against it like i was sitting in a chair. i don't know how i'm here. no doubt. the good lord just didn't call me is all i know.
wasn't my time. >> this afternoon the storm swept across kentucky and tennessee. meteorologist chad myers is here at the cnn severe weather center. as we hear about the devastation this morning, at this moment tell us who should be worried now. >> parts of kentucky, tennessee, mississippi, alabama and even here in georgia. and in virginia and the carolinas later tonight. the problem is, they've been asking me all day, will this be as bad of a night as it was last night. i said, you know what? there will be as many tornadoes tonight but will towns get in the way? in the weather office we don't say that tornadoes hit towns. towns get in the way of the tornado. because that tornado is going to go that way, anyway. will something be in the way of its path? and last night 170 miles per hour, tornadoes were just ravaging parts of southern illinois. 16 of them at least. probably still more than that because they'll be out looking at them. now look at this. john, 750 miles across from east to west. 670 or so miles from north to
south. that's the area of severe weather that we're worried about. this is the area that got hit last night but now it's moving to the southeast so all of these areas could also be hit by those same tornadoes. hopefully it just hits farmland. that's typically what happens. people here are saying are towns now getting hit more? you have to understand, towns are bigger now. towns are bigger than they were before. there are more people living in the city. cities are bigger. there's less farmland out there. so yes, cities are getting hit more often. but only because what was the outskirts or just a suburb or just an empty farmland of a city is now part of a new subdivision. there are more people living in these bigger cities. cities are getting bigger. the odds of getting hit are bigger yet. we're going to watch it for you be back tonight. we're going to tell you what this ef 4 tornado means. 170 miles per hour through harrisburg, illinois last night. that's a monster storm. john. >> 170 miles per hour. chad is going to be with us throughout the evening to help us assess this as what goes on later tonight and what happened earlier today. to find out more on how you can help those affected by the
midwest tornadoes go to cnn.com/impact there. you'll find all the organizations and all the ways you can help people in need tonight. that's cnn.com/impact. just a short time ago i spoke with vince ashley, the ceo of the harrisburg medical center, a local hospital in southern illinois which had to evacuate patients today after extensive tornado damage as you can see in that photograph. mr. ashley, let me just start with the hit the medical center took this morning. what happened? >> well, about 5:30 this morning a tornado came through town. and the hospital was on the very northern end of the damage trail. it did hit the hospital and took out about 80 feet of exterior wall, which exposed three patient rooms, an office and a diagnostic room. and then it took out four windows and other patient rooms and took off significant amounts of the hospital's roof. and fortunately the weather
alert system had given us about a 20-minute advance notice. we were able to evacuate all of the patients from those areas into a more secure section of the building. and as a result we had no injuries. >> thank god for that, sir. to do all that damage, that's some pretty powerful force that hit the hospital head on. >> it did. >> and what now? with the damage you suffered are you able to take care of the people in the community who have been hurt in this tragedy? >> fortunately the emergency room and all of the activities that support it were on the other side of the building and were undamaged. so the emergency room, radiology, laboratory, pharmacy, all of those services were still functioning. we had an influx of about 50 patients very quickly. we were able to accommodate them through our e.r. and outpatient areas. we had physicians and nurses from all the surrounding communities that just showed up,
and as a result we had plenty of professional personnel. and we were able to take care of all 50 of those patients. the problem we have now is that all of the air handler units which were on the roof of the building were blown away. and so we have no heat in the building. and because we have no heat and obvious holes in the roof, we have evacuated all inpatients and we have successfully done that. but we are still operating the emergency services. >> and in terms of the emergency services, sir, help me understand the range of the injuries and the trauma you're dealing with. >> we had four fatalities that came through our e.r. we had three more major traumas that were airlifted to other facilities. and the rest, they ran the gamut from chest wounds to a lot of broken bones and a lot of cuts
and bruising. but it was a very long morning. >> i understand your point about the he and your inability to keep inpatients because of that. in terms of the emergency services, are you short any medical supplies you need ower ? >> we were on generator for probably four hours. and we have received back-up supplies from several of the hospitals in the area and local businesses have shown up at our back door with things like cases of bottled water, and just a wide variety of supplies and food items. and it's been quite an outpouring. and so we're still in business and still seeing emergency patients. and they are still finding people in the debris and bringing them in. >> still finding people in the debris and bringing them in. what is the prognosis, sir? do you have any sense of how many are missing in the community? how long you have to find them?
>> no, i don't. >> have you ever seen anything like this? >> i have not, no. i know these things happen. and i've seen tornadoes before but i have not seen one quite like this. and to have it hit the hospital and we continue to operate is i felt quite an aachievement and tribute to my staff. >> vince ashley the ceo of the harrisburg medical center. sir we appreciate your time on this traumatic day. god bless you and those working to help you in the community. >> thank you, sir. the illinois governor pat quinn as we speak is in the town of harrisburg devastated tonight many we're going to talk to the governor in just a moments. also late-breaking political news we want to tell you about tonight that takes off a bit of the luster off mitt romney's wins last night. mitt romney and rick santorum will split michigan's convention delegates even though romney clearly won the popular vote. romney gets all the arizona delegates that state winner take all. a campaign source tells me the former pennsylvania senator will
report raising $9 million from more than 100,000 contributors in the month of february. that same source says today he's been one of santorum campaign's best fundraising days of the cycle. coming up we'll have an update on where today's deadly storms are heading tonight. plus a major policy shift today from north korea's new leadership. we'll dissect the new developments with the bush administration's former top korean negotiator. well, online dating services can get kind of expensive.
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noooo. yeah! finding you the perfect place is all we do. welcome to hotels.com right now we're watching a line of strong storms moving into the mid-atlantic states and across the southeast. tornado warnings from ohio through kentucky, tennessee, georgia, alabama and mississippi. right now we're seeing reports of 100-mile-per-hour wind gusts associated with a line of thunderstorms in northwestern alabama. storms killed at least nine people in illinois and missouri today. the illinois governor pat quinn joins us now live from harrisburg, a southern illinois town devastated today. governor i spoke to the hospital ceo earlier today. said they were taking care of patients but he didn't know how many more they were going to bring. in how many are missing tonight in that community? and what is the potential,
sadly, for the fatalities to go up? >> well, there's nobody missing as far as we know. everybody's accounted for. got about 100 injured, various grease of injury. we want them all to recover. we lost six people. we prayed for their repose of their soul and we thank god for their lives. it was really inspiring, i think, how people came together at 4:30 and 5:00 this morning telling their neighbors to get to safety. right now you can hear the sound of chain saws and carpenters with hammers and fixing up roofs. we've already deployed our whole state government resources and we're working with the federal government. i got a call from the white house to use all federal resources to help people get back on their feet. >> we can see the shopping center over your shoulder, sir. we're showing other pictures of the devastation on television right now. as you make your way through the community you say everyone's accounted for. if that's the case what's the biggest need, the biggest question mark at this hour? >> well, anytime you have a
traumatic event like, this 175-mile-per-hour winds coming right through your house and your stores, it's traumatic. people have to kind of get back on their feet, say prayers that they recovered, and just sort of hold each other. i've been doing that with lots of people all over harrisburg p and southern illinois. folks have come from every part of our state and other states to help their neighbors. folks from joplin, missouri came. and i think that's what america is all about. it's the heart of america, it's the heart of a volunteer. we have a lot of volunteers helping their neighbor. >> is there anything that people need, the community needs right now that people from surrounding communities could maybe help out with before the government can get its resources together? >> i believe in the power of prayer. you can always pray. also i think the resources of our state government are being deployed. we have a great emergency management agency. our state police, our conservation folks. everybody's. in nobody's left out. and then the other thing we're going to have to do, i declared
it a state disaster area. we've got to assess all this damage and then ultimately we'll file something with the federal government for federal disaster area. but federal government has really been rise together occasion. i got a call from janet napolitano a few minutes ago. i was told by the white house that the president asked right away this morning what can we do to help illinois and the people of this wonderful town of harrisburg. it's really enspiring to see americans come together in tough times. >> it certainly is, governor, we wish you the best. we wish those communities the best and we'll keep in touch in the days ahead. thank you for your time on a difficult evening, sir. >> thanks, john. >> take care, sir. we want to shift. we'll continue to track the severe weather systems that move across the country. want to move important international developments today. in a very significant policy shift today from north korea's new leaders, they've agreed to suspend their nuclear weapons program and they say stop testing long-range missiles in exchange for food aid from the
united state united states. secretary of state hillary clinton confirmed it today. >> today's announcement represents -- north korea's new leaders by their actions. >> with us now the former state department spokesman christopher hill. he led the bush administration's talks with north korea and its neighbors. you could hear the caution, maybe a bit of skepticism from secretary of state hillary clinton there. is the first issue trust? >> well, i think the first issue is really where we're going with. this i think secretary clinton was absolutely right to be very cautious in her statement. it is indeed a first step. on the other hand it's the first step that we've seen from this new government, the first decision they've made in this regard, during this kim jong-un period. so i think it is significant. but we need to be careful with
it and regard it as modest. >> you understand this regime, the prior regime as well as anybody on the planet, sir, from the american perspective. do you believe there could be an opening under this new young untested leader? >> well, it suggests that they might be prepared to move back to the negotiation. the problem is they essentially made the negotiation impossible back in '08 when they wouldn't give us the verification we needed to go check on suspicious sites. they would only allow us to verify the actual plutonium which we could already do from outer space and frankly from everywhere else. so the real question will of course be in the details. but the fact that we have this kind of prestep as ambassador davies referred to it is something that i think we need to follow up and we need to see if this can get us somewhere. >> and the administration previously had declined and been very reluctant to link food aid
to any concessions if you will in the nuclear standpoint. is this a good move, smart move? >> well, i think the administration is still reluctant to do that. you notice the state department statement was very careful in that regard. but as i understand it there's going to be a discussion directly with the north koreans some discussions to determine precisely their need and also the monitoring requirements of food. so i think that assuming a food deal does go through, it will be very consistent with how we do food aid in the rest of the world, that is to assess the need, to assess the relative need elsewhere, and very importantly to make sure that we have the monitoring of the food aid that we need. i'm sure all those conditions will be met. >> let me ask you lastly, how long will it take for you to be satisfied that when the inspectors go in, international atomic energy inspectors go in they're getting all the access they need and want as opposed to this being some kind of a stunt? >> well, first of all, the inspectors who go in there will
be monitoring what the north koreans have said they're doing, which is to stop the any enrichment activities. so it will be very interesting if they get into the enrichment facility. so far only one u.s. scientist had a very fleeting glimpse of it. so this will be important. but in terms of finding out whether they have another facility which everyone suspects that they may have, i think that's kind of down the road. and i think there's going to be a lot of negotiation. i do believe, though, this is an important day for the u.s. and china relationship. it appears that the chinese worked hard on this. and also the south koreans. so i do believe it's a step in the right direction. >> chris miller, appreciate your help and insights on this very important development. thank you, sir. >> thank you. we're tracking that violent storm system that swept across the midwest and continues to threaten parts of the country today. coming up where it's headed and the destruction it left behind. plus closing in on a deal that could allow 16 americans to leave egypt. new details tonight on just how they might come home.
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important breaking news this evening. tornadoes you see them there possible tonight along a line of storms from ohio to the mid-atlantic and southeastern states all the way to mississippi. you see that line of thunderstorms responsible for 100-mile-per-hour wind gusts in northwestern alabama. briefly had a tornado warning associated with it but that now has been canceled. storms killed at least nine
people today in illinois and missouri. as we continue to track the severe weather kate bolduan has other news you need to know right now. >> that video is just amazing to see. let's catch everyone up on other headlines. we may be close to a break through that would allow 16 detained americans to leave egypt. the state department officials caution this isn't a done deal yet, but sources say it involves the detainees paying a fine in exchange for an egyptian court lifting a travel ban. egypt claims the americans broke laws by helping pro-democracy organizations. and nebraska's former u.s. senator wants his old job back. bob kerry made it official today he's running for the seat now held by retiring democratic senator ben nelson. kerry, a democrat, served one term as nebraska governor, then two terms in the senate from 1989 to 2001. james murdoch is no longer running news corps's scandal-plagued british newspaper publishing division. before he resigned he was
executive chairman of news international, the news most affected by last summer's phone hacking scandal. the youngest son of rupert murdoch will relocate to new york where he'll keep the senior executive title. and tonight is the last night net flicks users will be able to stream toy story 3, scar face, young frankenstein and others of big name movies. they're van irk because the company is ending an agreement with starz. netflix says it's not that big of a deal. most of their business comes from streaming tv shows, not movies. i got to tell you, john, still do love those movies. too bad they're losing those. >> oldies but goodies. got to watch them every now and then. >> oldies for me are very different from now. >> ow! kate we'll see you that few minutes. whnt we come back, serious breaking news. one survivor says he could hear buildings ripping apart. live pictures from harrisburg, illinois. more first-hand stories from the devastation right after this.
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-- an ominous new development in syria. a huge storm that sent deadly tornadoes spinning through the midwest has left at least nine people dead. and the danger isn't over as that storm system now moves east and south tonight. we'll check in with chad myers in just a moment about the coming threat. so far no place hit harder than harrisburg, illinois where six people died. take a look. >> it's a horrific event that's happened to us here in harrisburg. the loss of life, the injuries, the devastation is just -- it's very profound. and very heart-breaking to tell you the truth. >> harrisburg's mayor says crews are searching for survivors piece by piece making their way through destruction as wide as four football field. in a medical center a wall vanished in winds up to 170 miles per hour. >> i heard the wall implode. and the storm did not actually sound that close. but then the wall blew out and the door blew out and the ceiling tiles started coming down. >> a shopping center levelled in
a moment. >> it's unbelievable. i can't believe the measure of damage it did to this building. it's like there was just no structures and it just took it completely out. as you can tell, it's total devastation. i've not ever seen anything like it all the way down through this whole area. i'm just glad it happened at night when no one was at work. this would have been horrible for people to be in this building when that happened. >> missouri and kentucky also reeling trying to come to grips with what happened early this morning. >> i don't know how i'm here. no doubt. good lord just didn't call me is all i know. wasn't my time. >> i'm on the second floor. you could just hear building tops just tear open. it was just like -- my mom refused to come out of the house and stuff. i'm like mom, you need to come. let's go. >> mozgov jay nixon says three people died in his state. he visited the town of branson today and says the community will rise up. >> you can rebuild, you will
rebuild, you're going to stay calm during now. we're going to keep the law. the bottom line is we are confident that branson will be back and better than ever. >> with me now chad myers tracking things in the cnn severe weather center for us tonight as we look back at the devastation you're looking ahead at what could come. >> we probably will see just as many tornadoes tonight as last night. but last night towns got in the way. typically that doesn't happen. we'll get ten tornadoes a night on a night but it hits a bunch of farmland. but last night, branson got in the way, harrisburg, illinois in the way. the harrisburg tornado was an ef 4. people i think understand the hurricane category one, cat two. i'm not sure they understand the fujita scale or enhanced fujita scale. an ef 0 if you hear that going through your neighborhood you're going to lose some shingles. minor damage. the metal and the wood of your roof still going to be okay. shingles will be gone. e f-1 between 86 and 110 miles
per hour. you will lose some of those broad, big pieces of wood. the plywood on top plus the shingles but the walls of your house will still be there. ef 2, now looking at winds to 35 miles per hour. you certainly will lose all the windows in your house. do not go and open the windows to try to relieve the pressure. that is an old myth. that's a 50-year-old plit. if you open the windows, get near that glass you're putting yourself in danger of being cut by the glass. if that tornado wants the glass it's going to take it whether it's open or closed. that's going to give you strong damage. some of the outside walls will be gone from your house. ef 3. here's where we're getting kind of dangerous. we're getting up in here to 150, 165 miles per hour. there may only be two or three inside walls still left. same story with an ef 4. you still will be able to notice, though, even at 200 miles per hour that there was a structure there. at some time. maybe the bathroom will still there be or a car will still be in the garage. you'll still see that that was a
building. but when you get to ef 5 at 200 miles per hour or more, all you will see is a hole where the basement is or a slab. everything else will be completely gone. you probably won't get 3s, 4s and 5s tonight but we still could get 1z, 2z and 3z. if you're in the way of one of those you will lose parts of your house. i want you to get a weather radio. before the season really gets going go and buy an noaa weather radio. >> appreciate that perspective. thanks so much. we'll continue to track those storms as they move across the southwest and southeast. ominous news overseas. in syria tonight looks like government forces are starting a full-scale offensive against the besieged city of homs. nick robertson monitoring the situation from beirut, lebanon. >> reporter: john, a significant development in the fighting in syria today. activists in the baba ama neighborhood of homs tell us for the first time syrian government forces have been using helicopter gun ships to fire on them on the ground below.
they also tell us in this neighborhood there was a ground incursion by syrian military forces. this has happened before, but they said they came in in greater numbers. they had tanks and they were supported by their helicopter gun ships. they have long feared in that area, baba ama, they have long feared there would be a ground offensive by assad's military forces. today they believe that they were saved by the weather. late evening it began snowing. the helicopters pulled off. the troops pulled back. and they believe that this tactic of using helicopter gun ships is something that they're going to face in the coming days. another thing as well that we've seen in this neighborhood today, activists there tell us the water, the electricity in the whole city has been cut off. it has been very hard for us to communicate with them. much harder than normal. they say this is because they're running their communications equipment on generators. the shelling there they say was so incredibly intense today they haven't been able to get out to take video clips as they
normally do. and so the image that's emerging is the strangle hold and the intensity of military force that's being used against them is increasing day-by-day. the fact that we're not able to see and haven't been able to see through the day day, video clips, get updates on death tolls, numbers of injuries is an indication they're telling us just how intense the fighting is. they fear from today it's only going to get worse and the helicopter gun ships they think will be back. john? >> nic robertson tonight tracking the horrible situation in syria from lebanon. mitt romney closes out the month with two primary wins. can rick santorum learn to watch his words? up next we'll walk through this campaign's big what ifs. ugh. [ zipper, heavy breathing ] ♪ [ male announcer ] linens and duvet washed fresh for every guest. real value. from your friends at hampton.
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latest now in this hour's breaking news. a line of strong storms moving into the mid-atlantic states and southeast tonight. tornado watches extend from ohio through kentucky, tennessee, georgia, alabama and mississippi. a line of thunderstorms that produced 100-mile-per-hour wind gusts a little bit ago now moving toward jasper, alabama, northwestern birmingham. the storms killed at least nine people today in illinois and missouri. we'll continue to track those storms. shifting now. february is over and it was not the decisive month mitt romney had hoped for. far from it. yes, he won michigan and arizona last night and has every right to claim bragging rights and at
least modest momentum. here's tonight's truth. as we raise the curtain on march still more questions than answers in the republican nomination chase. will governor romney ever close the trust deficit with the conservative base or learn to bite his tongue when it is about to reinforce his rich guy who just doesn't get the average joe image. >> guys, we're going to start lining up so you probably need to be back? >> two feet. three feet. >> keep going. you don't want to get hit. i'm going to press a button which will be my heavy lift in terms of manufacturing today. >> can rick santorum learn to bite his tongue when he's about to speak about anything but jobs? and is talking about his mom enough to close a gender gap that gave governor romney michigan? >> she was a professional who actually made more money than her husband. i grew up with a very strong mom. someone who was a professional person who taught me a lot of things about balancing work and
family and doing it well and doing it with a big heart and commitment. >> more questions, for example can ron paul get a win somewhere? and can newt gingrich rise again? super tuesday should provide some answers. ten states, 419 delegates at play, next week. team romney's banking on massachusetts, vermont, virginia and idaho. santorum is a heavy favorite in oklahoma. ditto for gingrich in georgia. north dakota and alaska loom ripe for ron paul which leaves ohio and tennessee as the tossups and the testing grounds. winning both and six out of ten next tuesday would make romney a formidable frontrunner. but santorum leads in both ohio and tennessee at the moment. and if he gets through to next week, he would be in the chase for real. and gingrich? >> we're going to win the georgia primary and win it decisively. and that is the key. >> but truth is, just georgia won't be enough.
like congressman paul gingrich needs a bigger splash and soon if he wants to be more than a role player. we're joined by cnn chief political analyst gloria borger. when you look at that, tennessee and ohio, the big battle grounds. >> right. >> santorum favored at the moment. i was told tonight they raised $9 million last month. so at least for a week, fundraising's not a worry. he's on par financially with romney. should romney try both? should he pick one or the other? >> i think he's going to try ohio ohio ohio. i mean, this is a state that's like michigan only without the family ties. and it's a bellwether state. you know that it's an important state in the general election. i think romney has to prove that he can win in the midwest there. and i also think, by the way, that he's got to show that he's got some strength in the south. i mean, he may very well --
republican candidates need to show strength in the south as well. and so if newt gingrich wins georgia, this thing has yet to play out. i mean, i think romney's formidable but he keeps making these unforced errors. and that's a problem. >> romney and santorum are clearly the top of the pack right now. gingrich has come back in the past. is just georgia enough? >> no. i don't think so. i mean, look. i think if he loses georgia -- >> over. >> game over. but is georgia enough to put him up to the top of the pack? i really -- it's hard for me to see how that is. i think if he has a win in georgia and somewhere else, then yes, maybe he can start moving up. but i think he's putting all his eggs in that basket. i don't know if it will be enough, john. >> let's show an example of the world we live in and a world that candidates should know, especially serious candidates. this is governor romney earlier today doing an interview with the ohio news network. let's listen.
>> mark rubio is being debated i believe later this week that deals with banning or allowing employers to ban providing female contraception. have you taken a position on that? he's said that he was for that. we'll talk about personhood in a second but he's for that. have you take an position? >> i'm not for will bill. but look. the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, a husband and wife? i'm not going there. >> now, the question was admittedly a bit convoluted. the interviewer did blunt rubio. if you speak washington and maybe romney doesn't speak washington, roy blunt is a supporter of mitt romney. federal legislation that would create a religious exemption if you're the catholic church and give your employees health insurance you don't have to cover contraception. romney campaign quickly has done a cleanup operation. saying no, he supports that legislation. but in today's world the blog sphere jumped on it. >> just like that. not only conservative
republicans but democrats and democratic national committee jumped on it. look. of course mitt romney was trying to go after rick santorum here. santorum supports something, i'm opposed to it. i answered the question on contraception. but then this is what happens in a campaign. in a split second you make a mistake like that because of course his campaign points out he does believe in the conscience exception as they call it, and then suddenly conservatives are saying, there's that trust deficit you were just talking about, right? >> that's the issue with him. we all make mistakes. he misunderstood the question. if he misunderstood the question. he rushed on a boston raid yes show to say i didn't understand the question. i support the amendment. but he does have that trust deficit. if santorum said that people would understand it was a misunderstanding. since romney has that trust deficit it becomes a bigger -- >> you have to understand it was a mistake and correct yourself immediately. what we have with rick santorum was after he said the jfk speech made him throw up, he then said
that was a mistake but it may have cost him catholics in the state of michigan by about 8 points. so a little too late. >> he took that one back. romney cleans this one up. maybe we could actually talk about jobs and the like it would be a better conversation for the country but we'll see, gloria. >> next time. erin burnett outfront coming up the top of the hour. erin tracking the tornado damage in the midwest tonight. >> amazing the death toll isn't higher when you look at the destruction we've seen. two football fields wide. an entire strip mall completely oblitera obliterated. we'll be talking to the mayor of harrisburg, illinois and branson, missouri, the resort town that was sort of completely decimated. sort of been described as a las vegas-like resort town. that area now completely gone. also going to be talking to a man that worked in one of those strip malls. his alarm went off this morning. he thought someone was trying to rob his store. he immediately got up, went to the strip mall and it was completely gone. he'll be joining us tonight. plus someone who lost a very
dear friend in the tornadoes today. also as you know, john, we are getting some more information tonight about t.j. lane, the student, the young man, 17 years old, who killed those students in ohio. we have some more information on his juvenile history and exactly what he might have done and when. we're going to be talking about that tonight at the top of the hour. back to you. >> erin, we'll see you in a few minutes. all important stories. thank you. still to come here, how did you spend your friday night? >> john king's doing a great job. on the yellow line. >> a dream come true at daytona next. ♪
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here's kate bolduan with the latest news you need to know right now. >> lots of talk today on capitol hill about senator olympia snowe's surprise decision not to seek re-election this year and ooefb more talk about the reason why. snowe says she's fed up with the polarization and the attitudes in congress. people are angered by the ability of elects officials here in washington to solve the problems. in other news, davy jones died at the age of 66 after suffering a heart attack. he was on a tour in florida and
complained of chest pains yesterday evening. tiger woods' ex coach says he wanted to become a navy s.e.a.l. he writes that woods thought about quitting and joining the -- he says that fascination even got in the way of woods' going for the majors record. his agent calls that ridiculous. i guess we all have our day jobs and then the jobs we wish we have. >> yes, kate, and on that point, stay right there. and finally, tonight's moment you may have missed. i love my job, but we can all fantasize, right? >> down they go, joey polter goes flying into the catch fence and that will be john king will win at daytona. >> no, not me, but for 23-year-old john king from kings
port, tennessee, the biggest win of his life. >> man, i'm a rookie, i'm not supposed to be here. oh, my gosh. this is unreal. >> and the daytona champion joins us now. first, congratulations. what's it feel like to be a rookie on the track and to all of a sudden, see that checkered flag? >> it's unbelievable. i mean, i had never been to daytona speedway in my life. no, i take that back. as i driver. i had been there a hundred times as a kid, but to be in there and make my first laps, it's amazing. >> i was in orlando at the nba game with my two teenagers and all of a sudden, i'm trending on twitter. it's not me, it's you. i sent you a tweet that said i'd let you play with my magic wall if you'll let me drive my truck.
how about that? >> it would be a pleasure to have you anytime and if not, we'll have you to our pit facility. >> what is it, you're in the truck race, this past weekend. rick santorum came down. mitt romney came down. what is it about nascar that attracts the politicians? >> i think it's such a big stage and there's so many fans across the country and they span from north to south, east to west. coast to coast. nascar, it's a big deal, there are more fortune 500 companies that participate in any other sporting event in the world. it's a large scale, it's a big area to get your face seen if you're around nascar and i think that's what probably everybody wants to come see. >> you're from a super tuesday state. registered to vote in a super tuesday state.
is john king going to vote and any idea who? >> i have no idea who yet, but i will be voting, yes, sir. >> the candidates like to use crash metaphors sometimes. all the candidates stumble, rick santorum started he started way back in the pack and now has surged up to where he's a contender on the race. what's it like on the track, you think you got a chance to win, then what happened to you. you see the trucks flying, the fires and the sparks. what goes through your mind? >> i want to make it to the end. that's what they want to do, too, to make it to the end. you have to bypass all these big deals. we opted to fall to the back and the end and miss a lot of the big crashes and controversy and ultima ultimately, picked our way up and found ourself in contention at the end and pulled it off. i think that's probably what everybody wants to do is miss all the controversy. >> smart strategy on the track and in politics as well. good to meet you. i'm going to come see you at the
track soon. >> thank you very much. we'll see you later. >> so, kate, which john king has the cooler job? >> that is putting me on the spot. i'm going to be diplomatic. both of you have the perfect job for you. >> he's got the cooler job. >> that was really fun. it was cute. didn't even seem to register he had won. in awe of it all. pretty awesome. >> we were tweeting back and forth on friday night, jumped up right away. shoe, i'll come in. we're going to have him work the magic wall. >> that's what i love about you. only you, john king. friday night, just tweeting the daytona winner. just happens. just a regular friday night for you. >> you want to go, you think you can drive a truck in that speed? >> i'm definitely in. my husband will tell you, i've always wanted to be a race car driver. he of course will never allow me to speed in a car.
i am in. >> what i love is the loyalty of the fan base. if you look on twitter, it was just a hoot. people were jumping in. say no, that can't be john king from cnn. people in the nascar community cleaned it up. i learned to drive in boston, so that qualifies me for nascar. >> always comes back to boston. working the red sox, please. working the red sox. >> all about racing. we'll get to baseball soon enough. before we go, we want to return to a much more serious note and update you on this hour's breaking news. a line of strong storms moving in the mid-atlantic states and across the southeast. tornado watch from ohio, mississippi, kentucky, georgia and tennessee. please check in, use your weather radio. keep track of us here at cnn. a line of thunderstorms have produced 100 mile an hour winds moving toward jasper,