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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  November 27, 2013 2:00pm-3:31pm PST

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make sure to follow the show on twitter. that's it for "the lead" today. i am john berman sitting in for jake tapper. happy thanksgiving, everyone. i turn you over now to jim sciutto in "the situation room." >> happening now, travel trouble. a major storm hits on one of the busiest travel days of the year. grounded airports, full flights, dangerous driving conditions. how will all of it impact your travel plans? cnn's great race. three of our correspondents compete to get from new york to "the situation room" here in washington by train, plane, and car. just how long will it take? and radical change. pope francis outlines a bold new vision and a massive shakeup of his church. what is he asking roman catholics around the world to do? i'm jim sciutto. you're in "the situation room."
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>> the travel rush is on this thanksgiving eve. millions of americans are taking to the roads, the rails, and the sky only to find their plans complicated by a strong storm bringing wind, rain, and snow to much of the u.s. this is western michigan, near grand rapids, heavy snow, poor visibility, and dangerous driving conditions. and salt trucks are trying to keep ahead of the game in western pennsylvania where winter storm warnings are up in some areas. and here's flight tracker showing planes flying over the u.s. right now. the bright spot here, only a few cancellations so far today. delays of one to two hours are the bigger problem for many flyers. our correspondents are covering all of the angles of the story. we're going to begin with meteorologist chad myers in the cnn severe weather center. things could get much worse tonight? >> we're starting to see the delays build. they're not going away. they're starting to get to that -- remember tom foreman's piece yesterday, the tumble effect. all of a sudden, one delay
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builds on the next. if the plane coming into the gate is 60 minutes late, you're guaranteed to be 60 minutes late. 6,300 planes still in the sky right now. and on the east coast, very, very few are on time. i would say less than half at best. look here, this is philadelphia. and i'm going to show you the flight board of philadelphia. start here with a flight to norfolk and wilks bury, canceled, canceled, canceled, at least 20 canceled. and then 80 delays. dallas, jacksonville, it's an hour, two hours, three hour delays and planes coming in late. that's the issue. they can't go out on time. if they don't get to the gate on time, and it's going to be a very slow commute even to get to the airport tonight in new york city. all of these red roads here on google traffic, less than ten
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miles per hour. that's because it's changing over from rain to snow. not going to be a big snow event. but the roads are wet from the rain. temperature now in new york city, 33. especially western suburbs. when the snow comes down, it will evaporate and as the sun sets, 5:00, in one hour, the bridges are going to be a mess. >> too bad, john, i was hoping for better news. looks like a lot of people are going to be late for thanksgiving. we're going to turn to shannon travis in pittsburgh, pennsylvania. woo were talking earlier, you said the roads are being cleared up by the plows. >> they are. i talked to a transportation official earlier. he said exactly, we dodged a bullet. meaning in a sense that the wicked weather, the downfall of the icy rain on the roads, they didn't quite get that here in pittsburgh as we expected.
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but they did charge a bullet in terms of cold. it's cold right now. last time i checked, about 26 degrees. they do have ice in some areas, i'm told, so travel spots, crews have been out salting and making sure any accumulation they have gotten on the road, they have gotten those cleared out, and also they didn't dodge a bullet in other counties, the other counties you and chad have been talking about throughout western pennsylvania. other counties like beaver and lawrence where they did get a significant accumulation of snow, up to 12 inches in some of those spots. transportation officials tell me that there, they have crews on site. last i checked, about 24 trucks out clearing and salting and what have you. one other thing, the last i checked just a few moments ago with the airport, the airport official that i spoke with told me that everything is pretty much normal in terms of operations except the traffic, the amount of passengers. she told me that today alone, they have seen about 30,000
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passengers. up about 15% to 20% from normal traffic. >> those salters and plows will have to be working through the night. thank you very much, shannon travis, pittsburgh, pennsylvania. >> there's some sense of relief in buffalo, new york, a city notorious for massive snowfall. this time, they seem to have dodged a bullet as well. george howell is in the middle of it. tell us what you're thinking. >> another bright spot here. when you consider what was setting up here, when you consider we're talking about one of the busiest, if thought the busiest travel day of the year. and the storm system is coming in with anywhere from 4 to 6 inches of snow expected here. this city certainly did dodge a bullet in that regard. it's very cold here. no rain showers. that's good news because it's still below freezing. i want to take you to another camera down the street here, and you can see, this is what travelers are dealing with right now. good news here on the streets of buffalo. there is snow here. three to four inches of snow.
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they're used to that sort of thing. again, everybody is watching. as long as the temperature is low, the concern of black ice, that's what drivers are expected to watch out for. >> buffalo, new york, not as bad as it could be. coming up next, cnn's great race from new york to "the situation room." two down, one to go. brian todd is in the car, still trying to get here. tom foreman is there, checking his progress. lisa desjardins took the train and just arrived, and then our nick ra robertson flew to washin and has been here relaxing for hours. not fair. sfx: oil gushing out of pipe. sfx: birds chirping.
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it's the great race home. we set out to find the fastest way to get from new york here to washington on this thanksgiving eve. so cnn put three of its correspondents on a mission to make the trip by plane, train, and car, to see who could complete the journey first. tom foreman shows us how it all wint. tom, i had my money on the plane. who made out? >> a lot of people did, but this is the bet that everybody in the country is making right now. what is the quickest way to get there in difficult times? if you look at the overall map of where they're going, brian todd, nic robertson, and lisa desjardins started right around noon. nic caught an early plane. lisa had a delay on the train and then caught up, and then brian todd. let's take a look at nic's time. just about three hours. lisa, 4:31. both of you, big finishes here.
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did you think you would finish this fast? >> i thought i would finish a little faster. >> and i thought i would miss my plane. i came so close to missing it, i mean so close. 12 minutes when i went through security. then it pulled away from the gate like a minute and a half early. i thought, barring a hitch. >> you both made it here. brian has been slogging along in the car, getting closer and closer, although i'm not sure where now. brian, have you made it any closer, broken through the traffic in baltimore or what? >> tom, i have made it. i'm at the d.c. bureau, getting out. >> yay! >> so you're coming in now? >> the clock is running, brian. >> look, there's the clock. you're running out of time, brian. 5:13. did you think it was going to take this long? >> i think he took the equipment off in the name of escape. >> he ran for it. he's running for it in the spirit of competition. did you guys think he would be that far behind in the car or
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worse? >> i thought it would be a little quicker. >> there he goes, running in. he looks like rocky here, unbelievable. >> much better runner than i am. >> there he is, he's going. he's got the elevator ride. >> he's making up time on me with this run. i have to admit, i have done this drive a lot, from d.c. to new york many times. in my head for some reason, it's a four-hour drive, which is never relist, but i thought it would take less than 5:14. >> all of you around the country trying to travel, especially when you have weather conditions, security conditions, it can change. >> the plane i was on, they couldn't serve food, beverages, everyone had to stay strapped in their seats because it was so bumpy. so it's not plain saling by any stretch of the way. >> there were rumors that nic
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had the plane held up, which are his powers as an international correspondent. >> if only i had such powers, i would use them more often. >> i'm willing to look into it, but i tip my hat to nic. >> we landed 17 minutes early, so we must have had wind in the right direction from somewhere. definitely no helping hand from anyone that was all fair play. that was the tsa doing a great job. i came running up to security. there was no one in the line. >> boom. >> went through quickly. >> when does that happen? it's amazing. >> when you need it to happen, that's when it happens. >> one thing we agree on is brian probably drew the short straw. >> we're watching the elevator to see if we have brian coming through the door. that's the weary traveller! >> so nice you made it. >> how are you? my good friends, traveling compappians. >> touch your name and you'll
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stop the clock. that's the total count there. >> that is what you call a butt kicking. >> did you feel -- overall, traffic, how was it for you? >> not nearly as bad as we thought it would be. we had probably four backups, four major ones. none lasted too long. two were on the new jersey turnpike. one was i think in delaware and orthwas between baltimore and washington. the baltimore tunnel, which is bad, not bad at all. >> there was a scare about that. not a whole lot of volume on the road, so i think people might have been scared by the reports of the weather. >> short, quick, and clean. what's your advice to everyone trying to travel tonight to get somewhere by car? >> i would say be patient. if you can drive overnight, maybe you want to do that.
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>> lisa, what about you? what's your advice to anyone trying to go somewhere by train or not by plane or car? >> the quickest way, we know that was the airport. if you care about having a good experience, no offense to my friend nic, i do think the train was probably the best experience any of us had. >> the getting there experience. and nic, what your advice? be lucky? because you were lucky today. >> be lucky, never give up hope, and that's it in a nutshell. be lucky. i had the gentleman in front of me sitting back in his chair so he was right on my knees. >> the real traveler. just back from geneva. >> i flew in from europe last night to a rainy dulles, but there were no delays either. that's the big surprise. >> so big-time traveler. everybody here is a traveler, right? that's what we do for a living. everybody out there trying to fight the weather, everything else, what is your advice?
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>> i'm going to claim a victory, having put my money on nic, but i will say normally on this trip, i would take the train over the plane if the weather is not good. that would be my thinking. i would never drive, frankly, never drive. >> leave yourself a little more time to get to the airport. whenever these rules were drafted up, yeah, more time. >> yeah. >> when nic tweeted and e-mailed he made his flight, i said, this race is over. i'm around newark. you know, so forget it. >> he didn't feel so bad when he was having lunch and you guys were still traveling. felt good then. >> how about cost? which was cheaper, more cost effective? >> i might have won that race. >> how much was the tank of gas? >> $sdpent. we had a big suv with equipment. tolls, about $75. >> okay. >> so the flight had to me much more than that. >> we'll leave that to the accountants. suffice to say, i wasn't the
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cheeping. >> $260 for the train one way. >> you could double that easily. >> and $450 plus $50 for the taxi, mine was easily the most expensive. >> tolls were about $25. it's about $100, one tank of gas and tolls. not bad. >> and you have to think, you have a couple kids in the back seat, that adds up quickly. >> exactly. >> i think i got through a few more heart beats today than one is supposed to get through. i don't know about you guys, but i was like -- >> when i was in the train station and saw the board that said, late, i was like, no! everyone else around me was weary, but i know somehow i will make this work, and i couldn't. amtrak was destined to be late. >> that's the end, three hours for nic. 4:31 for the train, and about 5:15 for the car, which frankly, brian. >> that's not bad. >> our travel traffickers, thank
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you very much. thanks to tom as well. coming up, cnn uncovers a new problem for obama care. turns out signing up online isn't the only problem they're facing. >> plus, john kerry's success in finishing hillary clinton's tenure. more coming up. ♪
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let's get some travel news you can use now. we have travelocity's senior editor courtney scott. thanks for coming on. let's say you missed it all today. you have saved your travel for tomorrow, the holiday. what can you expect? >> you can expect great news tomorrow. great weather as we're seeing across the country. much better than today, and an insider's secret to travel on the holiday itself. the first flight out on the holiday tends to be the least crowded, great prices. so you can expect smooth sailing tomorrow. and use that tip looking ahead to christmas. book on the holiday itself. >> now, one question i have when you get to the airport, is it better to change the flight at the airport in person?
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does it help sometimes? >> it's better to really plan ahead as much as possible. i like to, if you have to deal with changes, you know, do everything from the comfort of your own home. make all those decisions before you get to the airport. >> now, you mentioned christmas looking ahead. is it too late to book for christmas? sometimes when i book travel, you find good specials in the last two, three weeks before the holidays. >> i wouldn't recommend waiting that long, but cyber monday, black friday is just upon us. it's a great time to not only invest in electronics and clothing but travel. you can look at black friday, especially on travelocity, we're doing a fantastic sale. look for coupon codes for more discounts on travel. it's a big-ticket item so it'sigate to use the flash sales coming up to make your christmas travel a reality. >> still a chance to get good deals for christmas time. thanks very much to courtney scott, the senior editor of travelocity with last-minute advice. looking back here in washington, another set-back for
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obama care. the administration is delaying a key component for one year, an insurance marketplace designed for small businesses. jim acosta has more. jim, how big a deal is this? this is for small employers, less than 50 employees, right? >> that's right, and the administration revealed this mishap just as the president was about to pardon the thanksgiving day turkey, so republicans pounced on that, accused the white house of trying to dump bad news right before the holiday. just to walk you through some of this, officials over at health and human services earlier today, what they basically said was these small companies are not going to be able to use the online enrollment feature for for a year. that's because they're still building that portion of the site. what that means is the companies are going to have to buy the coverage for their employees offline through the insurers directly or through agents. they hoped to get this portion of working this month. that is now not going to happen.
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officials caution that businesses with fewer than 50 employees aren't required to punchs this. it just makes it available. john boehner seized on this as well as other republicans, saying the president should use this opportunity to delay implementation of obama care until all of the bugs are worked out. of course, all of this comes three days before the target date of november 30th to have the website working for what they call the vast majority of users on they said they'll hit that target date, the website will be greatly improved this weekend. but as much of the country is focused on the traffic on the highways and you had that on during the show, the obatima administration is concerned about the traffic to the site. they confirmed to me that the administration met with allied groups to not drive traffic to the site for a week.
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they're urging consumers to avoid the site's peak times. it's around 2:00 in the afternoon. instead, they're saying use in the mornings and evenings and on weekends. it sounds a lot like the travel advisories going out to people crisscrossing the country today to get to grandma's house in time for thanksgiving, jim. >> thanks. not exactly a vote of confidence when you're trying to encourage people not to visit the site. thanks, very much, jim acosta at the white house. that delay is not the only issue the sign-up process is having. we'll bring in chris with that. you have been reporting about this, how this is a problem at the back end. there were problems on the front end, signing up on the website. now on the back end, how does this work? whether people get their coverage after signing up. >> right, jim. what the insurers are worried about is once people sign up and can use the website and the starts to work much more
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efficie efficiently, that people won't be able to get their personal information to the insurers. wa once they sign up, insurers aren't getting the information on the back end. they're not getting personalidapersonal date of birt information, b beneficiary information. this is important to insurers who want to make sure they can enroll people and need the information to do it. >> you were explaining it, you order a book on amazon but the book doesn't get dispatched to you. that sounds like a major problem for consumers. >> a huge problem, and insurers are worried once they're unable to go through the process, that the worst-case scenario here is something where you have somebody who signed up, clicked sign up, the information hasn't transmitted over to the insurers, so they think they have health coverage insurance, and they go to the doctor and the doctor says, we called the insurance company. they don't know who you are. it's a big problem for insurers and one that the administration tells us they are working on and should not be a problem. >> they acknowledge it and say
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they're going to try to fix this as well. >> absolutely. >> thanks, chris. coming up next, she earned high marks. will his be higher? john kerry versus hillary clinton as secretary of state. we're taking a closer look. >> plus, pope francis denounces trickle-down economics and calls for a radical change in his church. details of what he wants catholics around the world to do. ♪ hmm. ♪ mm-hmm. [ engine revs ] ♪ [ male announcer ] oh what fun it is to ride. get the mercedes-benz on your wish list at the winter event going on now -- but hurry, the offer ends soon. [ santa ] ho, ho, ho! [ male announcer ] lease the 2014 ml350 for $599 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer. ♪
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the spotlight is now very much on america's top diplomat in the aftermath of this week's nuclear deal with iran. this isn't his first accomplishment as secretary of state, and it has some wondering whether his term will be more successful than his predecessor, hillary clinton. jill, what can you tell us in.
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>> secretary kerry is off on another marathon trip next week. euro europe, eastern europe, and the middle east, nipping at the heels of hillary clinton's record travel, but how does he stack up to clinton when it comes to foreign policy successes? he took her job as secretary of state, but he still praises her. >> one of the country's remarkable secretaries of state. >> i john f. kerry. >> john kerry has been america's top diplomat for only ten months, but already, he's racked up significant achievements. >> i spent a long day, long night, and i'm delighted to be here to share thoughts with you about this negotiation. >> a breakthrough interim deal with iran to halt its nuclear program. a plan with russia to force syria to give up its chemical weapons. peace talks between israelis and palestinians that seemed to be on track. in her four years as secretary
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of state, hillary clinton covered nearly a million miles in the air. her key issue, women's rights. >> an afghanistan that is stable and secure and peaceful is in everyone's interest, particularly women and children. but it can't come at the cost of women and women's lives. >> she scored some foreign policy successes, repairing america's image around the world, prevetting a wider war in the middle east by brokering a cease fire in gaza. an opening with burma. building an international coalition to remove libya's dictator, moammar gadhafi, although his critics claim it was overshadowed by the killing of the ambassador to libya and three other americans. so whose scorecard looks better? former secretary of state nickla nicklaus burn said they're both successful in different ways. >> he's a deal maker.
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he has thrown himself into the toughest negotiations that the united states can face. she took a longer-range view of the jaw, and she did emphasis development. and the ties between development and diplomacy, and the role of women, which was a very important issue that had not received the attention it deserved. >> diplomats says history deals each secretary their own hand of cards. for example, this iran deal wouldn't have taken place if iranians hadn't elected their own new president. and there's another new factor at play. secretary kerry has no plans to run for president again. hillary clinton could be a candidate in 2016. jim. >> two very high-profile secretaries of state, no question. joining us to talk more about this, time chief foreign affairs correspondent michael crowley. his column of iran is in the latest issue on stands, and also joining us, john stanton. michael and i were also in geneva covering this iran deal.
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comparing kerry to clinton does -- do kerry's recent successes at all diminish what clinton succeeded at? >> i think people can judge that on their own. there's no question that kerry is more of an acrobat. he's out of a limic, taking chances. this is the end of the line for him. as jill said, hillary played a little more cautiously knowing she might run for president again, and this is probably the last thing kerry does in public life. also, the differences between them are on the margins because secretary of state of this administration has been an envoy job. they're not setting policy, foreign policy. the white house is extremely controlling of foreign policy. most of the issues that were discussed in that segment, the big decisions were made, president obama himself very active in foreign policy. a core group of aides who nmake the decisions. they're on the margins of how they carry out the tasks.
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>> hillary may be running for president, but that may have affected her risk taking. do you think that's a fair criticism. >> perhaps, but she's not the type to say i'm going to make bad policy because of my political future. she's like a lot of people who run lie president, and a lot of politicians, believes she is right and has a lot of confidence in herself. depending on what happens with secretary kerry's positions on iran, on the middle east peace process, if those things don't work out, she'll look much better. those are big questions still out there. some of the things she worked on with repairing the country's sort of image after the bush administration, working with women, those are solidified and aren't going to go away. >> your article, diplomacy is ri risky. how much is at stake for president obama and for kerry? >> quite a lot. i think that, you know, you can
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trace what happened in geneva. it's fascinating to me, all the way back to a debate in 2007, where obama said we should be talking to the leaders. he was called irresponsible by john mccain. people piled on, and this idea that we can change our tone, change our approach, just by extending an olive branch, was ridiculous. now it looks like there's something to it. if the deal falls apart, if they cheat, he is going to look like he got duped. very quick, last point to expand on what you said, the big question for kerry, the middle east peace talks, they have said you can go and get that done if you want. we're going to hang back. if he can get a break through, that's legacy making. i think that's transcends anything hillary did. >> the battles aren't just over there. they're in washington, capitol hill. you have republican lawmakers and democratic lawmakers in his own party pushing for more sanctions. that could get in the way of making the deal successful.
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how big of a battle do kerry and obama face here. >> if they look like they're sticking to the deal, democrats will back off enough to allow the administration wiggle room. if it looks like they're playing games at all or if the pressure hits a stop, you have senator schumer and a number on the democratic side saying they don't care, they want more sanctions. that's a problem for a white house that has put a lot of these members into the position of feeling they have been betrayed on obama care and other issues. this is one thing grinding them on. >> secretary kerry is putting out a big push on capitol hill to head off the sanctions. i think he put out a video today that the congressmen are going to be looking at. thanks very much. look forward to seeing you at the next talks in geneva. just ahead, pope francis lays out a plan to end business as usual for the roman catholic church. details of his stunning message and why many conservatives don't like it.
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shocking words for many roman catholics in the first major official document from pope francis. in it, he calls for radical changes in the church saying it's time to rethink tradition, stop obsessing about rules and to focus instead on the poor. the pope goes on to denounce the current state of economics saying free market capitalism has not benefitted the poor. let's get more with pope david moore. thanks very much for joining us, father dwyer. >> good evening, happy thanksgiving and happy hanukkah. >> you're looking at a very
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different document from his predecessor. he attacks the structural causes of inequality in the world. what do we make of this? >> to put it into context, this document is about 288 paragraphs long. the majority of it talks about joy. the title of it is "the joy -- and the bargain for the type of document this is is different than pronouncing some sort of dog ma or doctrine about the blessed virgin mary that all catholics to have believe. this is more like a coach in the locker room at half time. he's not changing the plays. he's giving us a pep talk, and he wants all christians to share they faith with joy. that's the context within we see some of the more controversial statements. >> it's got a tote ally differe tone. it seems more stilted and seems to fit with his personality
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here. he doesn't have a big fancy car. he lives in an apartment. how much does this come from his personality, his upbringing, the mission he had in argentina, his background? >> quite a bit, as a matter of fact. and the instinct from the nomen feeda that was released after he was pope, he admitted and insiders admit that pope benedict xvi had written much of that. this document released this week is clearly in his own hand. almost all of it. in fact, the recommendations from the meeting of bishops that happened a year ago is typically what the popes will use to create a document like this, but he put it all aside and you can hear his voice in almost all of this document. >> it's in his tone and also in the kinds of things he's talking about. it seems to be more policy, more real-world stuff, less ideology. you know the role the church has played in the culture wars. do you think this is the kind of pope who can help end the
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culture wars, have a broader effect outside the church it. >> it's interesting that a lot of the discussion a year ago when the bishops gathered a year ago, a lot of the discussion was on secularism, and one of the most absent terms or concepts in the document is that. the pope chose in this particular piece of writing not to take on all that's wrong with the world and the culture but rather to say, we as church need to go out there and embrace the culture, engage the culture. not necessarily condone everything in the culture, but particularly, he was more critical of us within the church, priests and bishops and the kind of culture that breeds its just the select few who get to be a part of this. he says, no, no, no. no one must be excluded from the gospel. >> exciting. a lot of the world's more than 1 billion catholics, a lot of people beyond that as well. thanks very much. >> we're going to turn now back to the severe weather. it's threatening to impact one
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of the country's most loved holiday traditions, the macy's thanksgiving day parade in new york. jason carroll is there right now. >> reporter: up, up, and away. maybe. very powerful winds. >> this is the wind that could affect the balloons. >> reporter: macy's thanksgiving day parade's giant balloons. will they fly or won't they? jose and his family are hoping to see them soar. >> it will be a disappointment if we can't see the balloons. >> reporter: same sentiments from this family. >> they have to fly. somebody's got to make them fly. >> reporter: parade organizers aren't concerned about rain or snow. it's the wind. giant balloons like the all new toothless from how to train your drargen, could be grounded. that is if some forecasts are true and sustained winds reach at least 23 miles per hour
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thursday or wind gusts top 34 miles per hour. macy's saying regarding the giant balloons, a determination is made on their inclusion based and not forecasts. so it's not helpful to discuss it now. it was a topic of discussion and concern for new york city police. >> we've had several meetings. today we had a meeting on it. we have instruments that give us the cross-wind measurements. >> we've done a lot of training on this. >> reporter: both city and parade officials have learned from past wind-related balloon accidents. in 1997, a woman spent more than three weeks in a coma after the cat in the hat balloon struck a light pole which hit her. two more were hurt in a similar accident involves the m & m's balloon. and a police sergeant is assigned to each balloon.
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protocols in place. the balloon like snoopy and woodstock and updated spongebob are ready to fly. even if they don't, the finley family will not be disappointed. >> the balloon aren't about thanksgiving. it's about fellowship, family and just being thankful. so, jim, we've got the balloon out here. here's sonic the hedgehog. hello kitty is down there. the crowds are here as well. everyone is here waiting for the balloon. we spoke to the man in charge, making that decision, he says he feels confident sonic and the rest will be flying tomorrow morning, fingers crossed. >> jason carroll in new york, coming up, redemption. >> a lot of, you know, people -- in a lot of cases, you know, drinking a lot, drinking
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different -- almost every night of the week, but i was a functioning alcoholic. just ahead, find out how boston's mayor-elect transformed himself. hihihihing, helicopters buzzing, and truck engine humming. sfx: birds chirping sfx: birds chirping she's always been able it's just her but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include
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we've heard several recent stories of politicians getting in trouble. from mayor ford to congressman radel, who's now in treatment. boston's mayor-elect martin walsh had his own struggles, but managed to overcome them. here's cnn's poppy harlow. >> give me boston a place of comebacks and second chances. >> reporter: martin walsh wasn't shaping up to be mayor of boston. >> you drove drunk. >> yeah. >> blacked out. >> yeah. i didn't have a shutoff valve. >> reporter: he dropped out of the college to work
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construction. >> drinking a lot, you know, drinking different, almost every night of the weeks, but going to work. i was functioning. >> reporter: he says at 22 he was arrested after a night of drinking for what he calls being a punk. he hit bottom in 1995. >> a three-day bender that wasn't good. then the following monday that i went to work, my boss suggested i make a phone call i didn't want to make and they recommended inpatient detox. >> you were just making the call to make him happy. >> just to get the heat off. >> now he's 18 years sober. >> every i have is because of being recovered. >> reporter: he went back to night school to get a college degree at age 42. it was a narrow victory for walsh, with significant ties to labor, critics question whether he can fairly negotiate with unions. so did votes from the recovery
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community tip the balance in his favor? >> part of getting elected is your story. >> there was a rally, the day before the election. wow, and most of these people were in recovery. >> reporter: recover addict james taylor vividly remembers the day he met walsh nine years ago. >> it was a sunday and this was 13 degrees beblow zero. he said, get your bags, you're going with me. >> reporter: where did he take you? >> to the hello house. >> reporter: a halfway house? >> right. >> reporter: what did el had do for you? >> he saved my life. i believe god put him there that day to help me specifically. >> reporter: that's when you started getting sober? >> exactly. >> reporter: another supporter is now 13 years clean, after beating her addiction to crack cocaine. >> i think that him being in recovery brought in people who he understands.
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will it make him a better mayor or person? i couldn't stay that, but in order for you to understand where i'm at and where i've been, you have to have gone through what i've gone through. >> reporter: do addicts still call you for help? >> yes, i got a call yesterday. >> reporter: he says he'll keeping taking those calls as mayor and keep going to a.a. meetings. >> if you told me in detox that i was going to be sitting down 18 and a half years later having an interview on cnn as the mayor-elect of boston, i don't know i would say. i would probably say, yeah, okay. >> reporter: now he has to prove himself to the people of boston. >> anything is possible if you get sober. >> reporter: i asked him does he worry about relapsing? >> he says, no, he takes it a day at a time. >> reporter: i asked, does he have higher political aspirations? >> he says now the focus is being mayor of boston, but you never know. he did admit to me, look, if i
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had to deal with this while i was in political office, that would be a lot harder to do than before i was in public office. so there's some perspective there in the context of all of this. what does he plan to do when he gets into public office? he's going to use some taxpayer money to office an office of recovery service to help more addicts in boston. >> thanks to poppy harlow in new york. happening now, travel turmoil. the late thanks giving rush is on, and in some places, the weather is getting worse. we're learning about a major new delay here on the east coast. plus or great race. cnn correspondents share their experiences while dodging holiday traffic on a plane, a train, and in an automobile. and high stakes diplomacy. new u.s. ambassador klein kennedy is front and center in a very tense confrontation with
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china. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim scuitto. and you're in "the situation room." here on the east coast, many people are just getting off work and beginning the cold, wet and stressful journey to their thanksgiving destination. we're learning about major delays at the nation's largest train station, all because of a broken-down train. alexandra field is at penn station in new york. what is happening there with the train blocking the tracks? >> reporter: you can see the mess of people behind me. this is what happening when every single train going to and leaving penn state becomes delayed. here's what happened. it isn't just the regular holiday rush or rush hour rush. what happened here, we're told is a new jersey transit train became disabled in a tunnel. there's just two tunnels -- that meant one could not be used.
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the train has been moved off the track. inspectors are looking at the track. we're told the second tunnel will open soon. you again can see all the people behind me. take a look at that big board. you can see the delays across the board. every single train was delayed 30 to 50 minutes. again, though, a fix is on the way. the train has been moved. that tunnel is reopening, but it's going to take passengers a little while to get back on track. people have tried to be patient. it was a pretty smooth day, the problem only started around 5:00. arier this morning there were a few weather-related delays. there were some weather problems between new haven and boston, which slowed travelers down, but again a pretty smooth travel day until around 5:00. we're told that people should be getting on their way and getting back on schedule soon, jim, we hope. >> just when things were looking so good. thanks very much. alexandra field in new york.
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there are heavy winds that contributed to delays today at all three airports in the new york city area. margaret connedalee is at laguardia. how is it there? >> reporter: things are better than expected here. a few cancellations, you can sew the flight board behind me. more yellow means delays, but they're about 50 minutes or an hour, so things are running pretty officially. if you are planning to come to the airport, check your airline and make sure your flight is running on time. i know you're familiar with this airport. the place getting the most action is the new york sports bar over at terminal d. there's a line about a dozen people deep, but the airport is planning for the worst in terms of weather. they have stocked up on pillows and blankets in case people need to spend the night. >> thanks very much to margaret conley at la gaurda.
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we're going to get an update on the storm. here's chad myers. when are we going to finally see this end? >> tomorrow afternoon, when it's time to eat turkey, i guess. 5,000 planes still in the sky, that's not an usual number. that's not even venture a relative guess. this is what fp's flight board looks like. that word right there is "canceled." i can show you at least 20 other planes before i get to the delayed planes. 91 delayed planes right through here. now that the plane has delayed leaving, it's not going to get to where it wants to go on time, so the next flight out with this aircraft is going to be delayed as well. here you go, philadelphia two hours and 10 minutes 45 minutes at jfk, dca about 30 minutes,
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newark 30 minutes as well. the rain is changing over to snow in pennsylvania and also into new jersey. this is a bad thing, because the roads are wet. they have not been able to pre-salt the bridges, because the rain would just wash away the salt, so now the snow is coming down, in all of now pennsylvania, into bucks county, all of philadelphia itself. light at best, but the wet roadways will lead to icy bridges. the bridges will just freeze up all at once. they won't be able to get all those trucks in the right places. here's what it looks like if just go to google earth and click on traffic, it isn't so nice. lever every road is red, and there was a pretty big wreck on the turnpike that had an eight-mile backup, now at least clearing, but eight miles of cars? that will take you a while. looks like things better
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tomorrow afternoon, but between now and then not so easy. from another expert, travelocity senior editor courtney scott, let's say you're out there, it's the last day, you're trying to get to thanksgiving by tomorrow. any advice for travelers running into these last-minute delays? a train at penn station, main sleet turning to snow in the northeast. what do you do if you run into trouble now? >> pack your patience. luck has been on our side today. we've seen some great lightening up in delays across the country, but expect the unexpected. you never know what's going to happen, so really pack your patience and try to, you know, kill them with kindness. please don't overreact. everyone is doing their best to get you home to your family in time. most of us are coming home on sunday. that is, you know, one of the other busiest travels days of this pertain. there are a couple tips i have to ease the stress of your
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sunday return flight. >> give me those tips. like you said, today we think is busy, but sunday is even busier. exactly. >> before you even get to the airport, you want to check in online 24 hours in advance. that will not only ease up the stress at the airport, but will prevent you from potentially being booked from flights. as we all now, flights can be overbooked, so do that 24 hours in advance. be prepared to have your boarding pass out, i.k. out, laptops should be out of the carry-on in its own container, shoes off unless you're over under 12, over 75, some ilmilitary or in the global entry program. keep those tips in mind, and then, you know, it may be a situation of hurry up and wait. we are asking people to get to the airports two hours in advance for domestic, three
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hours for international. do some black friday/cybermonday shopping. it's a great time to go online, lock in some travel deals looking ahead to the christmas season. >> good way to use the time. maybe even buy your travel for the next holiday? any advice as we get closer? >> airfares are up 7.5%, only up 2.5% internationally, so maybe these the year to spend christmas abroad. airfares are only going to increase as we get closer to the holiday, so use that cybermonday/black friday/sale to lock in travel vacation and bookings. >> courtney, we had our cnn correspondents racing from new york to washington, planes, trains, automobiles. as you know, the planes won in this case. what's your recommendation. what do you think is the fastest, most cost-efficient way to travel?
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>> i had my money on the train. i really thought that was going to be the best of the three options, but we got lucky today with air travel. i think in general we don't know what's going to happen on sunday, so it's important to pack your patient, be patient, and plan ahead, leave lots of extra time for you and your family to get home. >> and maybe shop during the time when you're delayed. thank you, courtney. still ahead, is the president's signature accomplishments a failure? americans are making judgments about obama care. stand by for our new cnn poll. aural u.s. wear planes defy china, tensions soar. [ susan ] though he had never left. the end. lovely read susan.
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a new and significant setback today for obama care. with the big deadline to improve the website just days away. jim, another big delay? tell us what's happening. >> reporter: the administration revealed this latest setback as the president was about to pardon the thanksgiving turkey over here tess white house. republicans pounced right away, accused of dumping bad news right before the holiday. earlier official at hhs announced they're delays the online enrollment feature for snail business foss one year. what that means is those companies would now have to buy insurance for their employees off-line, through insurers directly or through insurance agents. officials had hoped to get this portion working this month. as a matter of fact several officials said as much, but now that is not going to happen. officials caution small businesses with fewer than 50
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employees aren't required to purchase insurance. under the law, it makes that enrollment available. as you might imagine, jim, other republicans criticized this throughout the day. john boehner said the president should use this opportunity to the deadline on november 30th, for the vast majority of users. are they being to meet the deadline to meet that goal? >> they said, yes, but they are offering a note of caution. they want it will be working for the vast majority of workers, but as much as the country is focused on traffic on the highways, the obama administration is worried about the flow of people onto the website this weekend. earlier a senior white house official did confirm that the administration met with friendly groups to urge them not to drive to the website.
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officials say they wanted to see what the demand will be like. at this point they just don't know what it's going to be. they're urging consumers to avoid the peak time. instead they're saying use in the mornings and in the evenings, on weekend. they're not out of the woods yet. >> thanks very much, jim acosta. we're going to talk more about obama care with our guests, alex castellanos, here with me, and mark lamont hill. how big a problem for the administration and will they be able to turn this around? >> the uncertainty continues s small businesses have been planning on -- starting to sign up for this thing, now it's
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delayed a year. imagine the cost to the economy and these small businesses. they've been having meetings with the accountants, attorneys and trying to figure out how to do this. now that uncertainty continues for another year. if the president was pardoning turkeys today, he should have pardoned obama care. i imagine you have a different point of view? >> i do. i think it's way too early, you know, to think about obama care as a failed project. obviously there's no excuse for the launch, no excuse for the burchs in the road we have seen so far, as a practical matter, it isn't something that's insurmountable. they can go through private insurers, and still file for tax credits, they just can't do it in advance. ultimately small businesses will be fine, but this is really an issue of public relations. the obama administration is looking worse and worse. this shop thing is becoming a
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major crisis, a major fire they have to put out. >> it's interesting, we have a new cnn/orc poll today which gives a glimmer of hope. only 8% of respondents set the site was a success, but 53% said it's too soon to tell. the american people seem to be giving the obama administration more time than the gop is. do you think the gop is jumping to conclusions too soon? >> well, i think of course we're going to see how this rolls out and how this is implemented over the next year, probably two or three years. so, yes, we should reserve a bit of judgment, but, you know, one of the thing you learn in politics for a long time is how to look at surveys and numbers. imagine, for example, i have sent 100 people to a restaurant. 50 of them get a great meal e. they're happy, they leave, but the other 50 think they might have food poisoning. which has mob political impact?
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the nation is divided, but there is a core problem sprending through the presidency here. this has brought down his honesty numbers, the how much he's trusted numbers. this has lowered how democrats are regarded. this is -- and really all of washington. in large part, in washington have to change. >> well, to be fair -- >> i'm glad you added that caveat. people aren't happy with anyone. republicans a month ago were being told that they were not going to have in shot in 2014 because of the government shutdown. unlike a restaurant where you never go back in a circumstance look this, with such short memories, in ant mo or six months that the site is functional, if people are enjoying the benefits, i suspect those numbers will go right back up. >> if i ask --
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>> just to add to the debate there's another point from the poll. 40% favor obama care, 41% oppose to being too liberate. another 14% oppose it, but because it's not liberal enough. they want in effect more aggressive care. does that change your view of how the public views this? >> in my experience, when you see numbers like that in a survey, yes, the president has a core of support that would like single payer, but that 40-some percent that thinks it's too liberal, that 40-something pertain grows. if you go into elections with a mid 40s strong, negative kind of a little cancerous bump under your skin like that, it is almost impossible to do well in an election cycle. the one thing that mark said about obama care recovering, there are searing moments in american culture and politics that stick with you.
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they keg positive katrinas or positive 9/11. this is obama's pile of rubble. it's a negative. this one lasts. >> mark, i'm going to give you a chance to comment on this. we have a sound bight we want to play from the president that hard last night speaking at dreamworks. i want to hear both your reactions itches as i was getting a tour of dreamworks, i didn't ask, but just looking at faces i could tell there were some folks who are here not because they were born here, but because they want to be here. they bring extraordinary talents to the united states. >> mark, do you hear anything in that that causes concern for you? >> well, first, i knew what the president -- but he -- -- you could look at someone's face and tell if they were born here. you can't tell whether they're a first generation or third
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generation, you can't tell. what he inartfully was trying to say this country is diverse, because we've all been a magnet. and what we need to do to keep the american economy booming is to encourage immigration. he's simply starting his stump speech for immigration reform. this probably isn't the best day to do it, but that's what he was attempting to do. >> you know what? i think we should give the president the benefit of the doubt. he was trying to say this is a great country where people want to come and everybody is welcome. i'm a cuban, so i'm glad he can look at my fair -- i look at his face and wonder the same thing. >> right. >> just a joke, mark. just a joke. >> thanks very much. good to have both of you here. ahead, we'll discuss ambassador klein kennedy's role
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in a new face-off between the u.s. and china. will rising tensions lead to a full-fledged and dangerous confrontation? and they dashed out of our new york bureau at noon. now they're joining us live here in washington. stand by for the best and worst of their great thanksgiving travel race. ready to run your lines?
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the united states is standing its ground in a direct challenge to china. that's raising tensions in the region right now. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr has the latest. >> jim, i know you've been watching this unfold. an important new voice is now weighing in. >> carolina kennedy, just days on the job as the new u.s. ambassador to japan front and center in the u.s. confrontation
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with china after an extended military control into what the u.s. says is international airspace. >> with their announcement of an east china sea air defense identification zone, undermine and constitute an attempt to change the status quo. >> reporter: china declared now controls a vast portion of the airspace over the east china sea and remote islands that both claim. china demanding for the first time that aircraft flying through the zone file flight plans and maintain two-way radio contact. >> this only serves to increase tensions in the region. >> reporter: vice president joe biden will visit china, japan and south korea next week on a planned trip. a senior administration official says the vice president will, quote, seek clarity regarding the chinese intentions. there are worries china, if not
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bracing for confrontation is still dangerously raising tension. >> i don't think we're headed for conflict in the near term, but it is the sort of setting of preconditions that could eventually lead to some sort of military calculation or accident and then create a real crisis. >> reporter: china has vowed to take emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate with the new rules. the u.s. military quickly challenged all of that, flying two b-52 unarmed bombers through the zone. a u.s. officials tells cnn the flight was, in part, showing that the u.s. military can strike targets in the region. the pentagon did not tell china in advance of the flight, but kept watch to see if china scrambled jets. it did not. the chinese also kept watch. >> it's indeed the right of every kung to defend its
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airspace and also to make sure that its territory integrity, its sovereignty are safeguarded. this is a normal arrangement. >> reporter: the u.s. military has reason to worry about an incident escalating. back in 2001, a u.s. navy aircraft collided with a chinese jet. that navy plane then crashlanded into china. the 24-man crew on kar board the navy plane was held by the chinese for 11 days before they were released. jim, good reason bad feelings and history, good reason to potentially worry about this. >> thanks very much to barbara starr. we're going to bring in the former u.s. ambassador, also cnn military analyst spider marsh, former major general, also intel officer in asia. ambassador


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