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tv   CBS Morning News  CBS  January 31, 2012 4:30am-5:00am EST

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sun sunshine stte showdown. mitt romney appears to be in the driver's seat as floridians go to the polls in a critical winner-take-all primary. terror on the highway. the dramatic 911 calls as cars crash in a deadly florida whooi pile-up. >> how many cars have been involved so far? >> we cannot see, ma'am. we cannot see. and head hunter in chief. the president says he'll look into why an unemployed semiconductor engineer can't find work. captioning funded by cbs good morning, everybody, and thanks for joining us. i'm betty nguyen. more than 2 million voter are expected to cast ballots in today's republican primary in california. tory. the latest florida.
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mitt romney is all the predicting victory. the latest polls like this one taken by quinnipiac university was taken. supporters have hit gingrich hard. they spent nearly $7 million in tv ads this past week. gingrich says he won't give up no matter what happens today. susan mcginnis has the latest now from tampa. good morning, susan. >> reporter: hi. good morning, betty. well, republicans here start heading to the polls in about three hours, and by all measures, it does look like mitt romney pretty much does have florida sewed up. but newt gingrich is vowing he's fighting on and will catch up. many thing the race could end closer than many think ♪ america america >> reporter: mitt romney broke into song as he made one final pitch to florida voters. ♪ and crown thy good with brotherhood ♪ >> reporter: the former massachusetts governor is hoping to crush his competition in today's high-stakes competition. primary with polls showing him holding a solid double-digit
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lead over newt gingrich, he believes victory is his. >> i know speaker gingrich is not happy. he's not feeling very excited these days. i know, it's sad. >> reporter: it was only a week ago gingrich was ahead after an upset win in south carolina. he'll continue crisscrossing florida "today" florida today, determined to make a comeback. >> we have a challenge to go out and make sure that every conservative knows that the only effective vote to stop romney is a vote for me. >> reporter: gingrich insists he is in this race for the long haul. he claims he is closing in on romney and is already looking ahead to the next contest. >> we are going to go all the way to the convention, and we are going to win in tampa, and we are going to be the nominee with your help of the republican party. >> reporter: on his campaign plane earlier, romney did not appear threatened. >> that's usually an indication that you think you're going to lose. when you say i'm going to go on no matter what happens, that's usually not a good sign.
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>> reporter: a florida win could help put romney on track to clinch the gop nomination. the polls show next month's contest tilting in his favor. now, rick santorum and ron paul are not here in florida today. they are headed to colorado where there's a caucus next week. florida being a winner-take-all state, they found it not worth it to compete here. as for the two front-runners, we'll find out tonight who gets all of the state's 50 delegates. >> yes, we will. thank you. gingrich may enjoy the thrill of the fight, but perhaps not to this tune. gingrich plays the song, "eye of the tiger," the theme from the move "rocky 3" at his campaign rallies. one of the song's composers says that violates copyright laws and has requested a court order to force gingrich to stop. democrats on the house committee say there is no proof attorney general eric holder
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authorized the "fast and furious" gun operations. they issued a report this morning that blames federal officials in arizona. more than 1,000 guns were allegedly allowed to flow from the u.s. to mexican drug cartels. two of those weapons were found near a murdered border agent two years ago. holder will testify about "fast and furious" on thursday. well, president obama has taken on a new role, as chief head hunter. yes, you heard it right. the president was participating in an online chat room yesterday when a woman asked about her unemployed husband. he's a semiconductor engineer who has been out of work for three years. the president says he'll try to help. >> it is interesting to me, and i meant what i said. if you send me your husband's resume, i'd be interested in finding out exactly what's happening right there because the word we're getting is that somebody in that kind of high-tech field, that kind of engineer, should be able to find something right away. >> the president was answering questions submitted via youtube
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as well as interacting live with five participants. a special congressional election is taking place today in oregon, and it's drawing lots of attention and some big money. democrat david wu was forced to resign following a sex scandal. oregon's first congressional district is heavily democratic. the republican committee is investing $85,000 to support the campaign of rob cornelius. he's running against democrat suzanne bonamici. now democratic groups have spent more than a million dollars to try to hold onto the district. for the most part occupy protesters in washington, d.c., have defied an order to leave two parks. the protesters were told they had to leave by yesterday. they've been demonstrating for months despite a no-camping rule. some left, but most did not. there have been no arrests so far. i want to take you to the horrific chain reaction highway crash in florida. ten people were killed in
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sunday's pile-up, and it turns out the road had just been reopened following another serious accident. mark strassmann reports. >> reporter: one witness said it looked like the end of the world. for a full mile, 22 charred cars and trucks littered both sides of i-75. the emergency crews found the injured by following the sounds of screams. this photo of a curtain of smoke was taken by a police cruiser's dashboard camera. listen carefully. you can hear the crunch of metal as drivers call for help. >> oh [ bleep ] oh, my god. what is going on? >> okay. we are getting help out there, okay? >> oh, my goodness. >> how many vehicles have been involved that you've seen so far? >> we cannot see, ma'am. we cannot see i couldn't see the flasher of the car. >> reporter: burt thomas parked his car for protection in front of a stopped truck. when you got out of your car, you couldn't see anything. what could you hear?
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>> you couldn't see anything. in the distance you could hear sirens coming, and i started hearing loud pops almost like guns going. it was sporadic. you know, i figured out later it was probably tires blowing out from the fire. >> reporter: the florida highway patrol had shut down the same section of i-75 just at midnight. poor visibility caused a three-car accident. at 3:30 a.m. they reopened the highway, and within ten minutes, a mix of fog and smoke from a nearby marsh fire settled in. >> i'm heading to the other side. that is northbound. >> okay. >> please slow down. please slow down. please slow down. >> reporter: among the dead, jose, his wife, and their oldest daughter. another daughter, 14-year-old lidian seen on the left is in critical condition. they were headed home to marietta, georgia, after a church conference in orlando. investigators suspect the fire that caused all the smoke could have been intentionally set. if so, this could turn into a criminal case.
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mark strassmann, cbs news, gainesville, florida. just so tragic. in other news a senate committee will consider a program to thwart iran's nuclear program. it will require companies that trade on u.s. stock exchanges to disclose iran-related business. it would also deny visas and freeze assets of individuals who supply iran with nuclear-related technology. the united nations security council takes up syria today, specifically an arab league inactiveishive calls on president bashar assad to transfer power. secretary of state hillary clinton will attend, but assad is not backing down, continuing assault on the opposition. david martin has our report. >> reporter: u.s. intelligence is predicting increased fighting and possible civil war in syria. the battle against the assad regime has reached the suburbs of damascus, and when you plot
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the fighting on a map, it looks like the capital is no longer a safe haven for the regime. he's a member of the opposition who teaches at the pentagon defense eun vers. >> they're only a few kilometers from the very center of damascus. >> reporter: so in terms of any large american city, it's inside the beltway. >> it's inside the beltway and it's creeping in closer by the day. >> reporter: he claims tens of thousands of syrian soldiers have defected to the opposition, but he acknowledges the regime still holds the upper hand. >> imbalance of power is great, and so as long as the regime views that they can snuff out its insurgency, things are only going to get worse. >> reporter: with the syrian army know patrolling the suburbs of damascus, president assad determines to do whatever it takes to stay in power.
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white house spokesman jay carney insists he can't survive. >> the regime has lost control of the country and will eventually fall. >> reporter: the syrian government responded to that by saying it will defeat all foreign attempts to create chaos in syria. david martin, cbs news, the pentagon. coming up on the "morning news," science education standards slip, plus conflict of interest. news that mortgage giant freddie mac was betting against struggling homeowners. this is the "cbs morning news." against struggling homeowners. this is the "cbs morning news." until then, i have my wingman helping me out. tommy? - i helped dad pick it out. - it's beautiful. - behind every open heart is a story. tell yours with my open heart collection at kay jewelers, the number one jewelry store in america. there are millions of reasons to give one, but the message is always the same: keep your heart open, and love will always find its way in. - i love you. - i love you too.
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indiana, massachusetts, south carolina, virginia, and the district of columbia district of columbia. on the "cbs moneywatch," congress is close to banning its own members from insider training. and a toilet-proof phone? ashley morrison is here with the latest on that. we definitely need an explanation on what that is. >> you certainly will get one. it is an interesting one. good morning, betty. well, stock markets in asia rallied this morning. tokyo's nikkei finished a fraction higher, ending a three-day losing streak, while hong kong's hang seng gained more than 1%. investors will get an increase. wall street started on a flat note. the dow dropped 6 points while the nasdaq dropped 4. 25 of the 27 european nations are signing onto a european treaty that imposes strict budget discipline. german chancellor angela merkel lead the way to the agreement,
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which calls on members states to adhere to deficit limits and blapsed budgets. britain and the czech republic were the only eu members to reject the plan. more trouble for mortgage lender freddie mac. according to report by npr and pro publica. the back lender is spending millions of dollars betting against homeowners. the investigation suggests freddie mac is making sure lenders have enough money to loan home buyers, but that the agency's investment arm is betting homeowners won't be able to refinance their mortgages at lower rates. >> the senate has taken the first step toward approving the stock act. 93 senators voted to proceed to debate on the bill, which prohibits congress using insiders information for stock purchases. the legislation picked it up after a report on "60 minutes" showed how members of congress were allowed to make stock deals that would have been illegal for anyone else. and, finally, replacing a water-damaged cell phone can be expensive, but now a california company is introducing a spray that will waterproof your phone,
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protecting it if you spill a drink on your phone, or if you even drop it in the toilet. betty, in that case, i think i might just replace my phone. >> you know, i've done that before and tried to resurrect and save it. didn't work. >> i don't know if you'd want to go fishing that out. >> no, you wouldn't. >> it's not fun, trust me. all right. ashley morrison here in new york. thank you. straight ahead, your tuesday morning weather. and in sports, a monster dunk as the clippers fly high against the thunder. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego. prego?! but i've been buying ragu for years. [ thinking ] i wonder what other questionable choices i've made? [ '80s dance music plays ] [ sighs ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego.
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here's a look at some cities around the country today. new york, pleasant, 56 degrees. miami, partly sunny, 79. chicago, partly cloudy, 59. dallas, showers there and 72. l.a. is going to be cloudy and 67. let's check the national forecast. the latest satellite picture shows clouds from the gulf of mexico drifting across the south. it's clear along the mid-therein region. a massive system stretches from the great lakes to new england. and it is cloudy along the west coast. there were whiteout conditions in parts of upstate new york yesterday. look at this. fulton, which is just north of syracuse, got more than 2 feet of lake-effect snow. forecasters say today should be better with snow turning to rain as temperatures head into the 40s. in sports the clippers were raining 3s against the thunder. los angeles nailed 10 from
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downtown to take a commanding lead over oklahoma city. then in the third, blake griffin has a power jam to put an explanation point on the win. clippers over the thunder, 112-100. that is their third win in a row. look at that. well, in women's college hoops, home court advantage didn't help uconn. the huskies had everything going for them. they were strong under the basket and stopped blue devils from scoring for about 12 minutes. number 3, uconn stopped it. on the men's side, missouri. less than 30 seconds left in the game, the ball bounces off the rim. and before missouri gets the rebound and the win, 67-66, over the longhorns. when we return, a nuclear emergency in the midwest. a reactor near chicago loses power. a reactor near chicago loses power. [ lane ] is your anti-wrinkle cream gone... but not your wrinkles?
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here's look at the weather in some cities around the country. washington, d.c., pleasant, 63. atlanta, mostly sunny, 66. detroit, some sun, 49. denver, cooler, 48. seattle, cloudy and 50 degrees. a nuclear reactor in northern illinois remains offline this morning. the unit suddenly lost power yesterday. diesel generators kicked in to supply power to the pant, and operators released steam to keep the reactor cool. now the steam contained low levels of a radioactive form of hydrogen, but officials insist the workers and public were never in any danger. many residents did assume the worst. >> well, i kind of panicked. the first thing i did was go get those pills they'd given us a couple years back. and then my niece called, and she told me to stay in the house, so that's what i did.
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>> officials are still trying to determine exactly what happened. the florida everglades are under attack from pythons, and according to a new report, the massive snakes which were once pets are now eating many of the small animals native to the wetlands. researchers say because there are so many pythons in the everglades, the odds of getting rid of them are very low. well, in portland, oregon, a jedi wannabe has been sentenced to the dark side. he was given 45 days in jail for attacking three customers with light sabres at a toys "r" us last month. when police tried to taser him, he knocked one of them away with the toy. he's seeking mental health treatment. coming up after your local news on "cbs this morning," "harry potter's" daniel radcliffe will be joining us. i'm betty nguyen. this is the "cbs morning news." daniel radcliffe will be joining us. i'm betty nguyen. this is the "cbs morning news."
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it is the last day of january. it will be mild. that's what we're going to talk about. 62 business lunch. in the mid-60s this afternoon. pleasant this morning. way above normal. this is what we have our eyes on. a marine is headed to jail and punching and kicking a fellow marine who killed himself shortly after. >> student has decide after suffering a seizure and falling from a ski resort. the president is expected to visit the auto show today. in the news this morning, breaking news in baltimore. and it is election day.
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candidates hope they gain enough support to win in the sunshine state. rallying for and against same- sex marriage. and a switch for the ravens. the new quarterback's coach coming to baltimore. more news and weather and traffic coming up. on average 5,000 people a day switch from cascade to finish - over two million so far. maybe it's because finish quantum gives them cleaner, sparkling dishes without rinsing first. see for yourself why millions have switched. join the finish revolution.
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