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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  January 3, 2014 2:00pm-3:31pm PST

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make sure to follow me on twitter and check out our show page at that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. happy friday. happy new year. i now turn you over to jim acosta, who is filling in for wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, deep freeze. temperatures plunge well below zero across the midwest and northeast. as millions struggle to dig out from a vicious nor'easter. plus, pleas for clemency. what does nsa leaker edward snowden think about the growing support for his return to the united states? his legal advisor is here to respond. and hitting the slopes. russian president vladimir putin hits the slopes hoping to convince the world the winter olympics will be safe. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim acosta. you're in "the situation room." first, a massive nor'easter now a dangerous arctic blast is
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piercing the northeast as much of the region struggles to dig out from up to two feet of snow, bone-chilling temperatures are setting in. tonight, it's expected to get down near zero in new york's central park and below zero in boston, but it doesn't stop there. parts of the midwest could see some of their coldest temperatures in 15 to 20 years, where highs by monday will likely be in the negative, yes, negative double digits. cnn has team coverage of this story, including the bitter forecast, but first, let's get to our frederick pleitgen in boston, where the focus is shifting from the snow to this deep freeze. what can you tell us? >> reporter: yeah, you're absolutely right. what's going on here right now is that the skies have cleared up and that's making it really, really cold. at the same time, as you can see, down the road from here, the residents are still busy digging out their cars. it's something many people here have been doing throughout the course of the day. what i've just learned is the fact these two guys have a cone in front of their car means that they are going to dig their car out, drive away, and that cone is going to save their spot.
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anyone who takes that cone away and parks there is going to get into a lot of trouble in this part of boston. but now the next big thing is indeed going to be the deep freeze. one of the things we have to say from having worked here all of last night is that the road crews have been absolutely amazing at keeping the roads clear but now the big problem is going to be with the big cold setting in, is that the salt that's being used on a lot of the highways in this region will become largely ineffective because the temperatures will be too cold even for that. some of the places here in massachusetts will get down to minus 24 degrees fahrenheit and that's without the wind chill. i can tell you from standing here, the wind chill is still very much a factor here. one more thing before i hand it back to you, you know, i have been covering news for a very long time and one of the things that i said before going into tv is i would never wear a hat on television. i have actually reported from the north pole and i didn't wear a hat on television. this is the first day that i have gotten smart and worn a hat, because it is that cold out here.
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>> all right. very good. if you hadn't, we would all be calling your parents and complaining about that. we're glad you are taking care and being safe out there. thank you very much. appreciate it. in the midwest, it's even colder, where temperatures could get down into the negative double digits this weekend. firefighters are attempting to put out this blaze in nebraska and had to fight the frigid conditions. >> our main concern right now is with the water flow and slips and falls because everything is instantly turning into ice right on the sidewalk. >> as for how cold it is in minnesota, get this. the governor of minnesota is closing all public schools statewide on monday for the first time in nearly two decades because of the extreme weather, urging all residents to use caution. let's get to meteorologist alexandra steele in the cnn weather center. alexandra, when it gets so cold in minnesota, they have to cancel the schools, that is cold. first, how bad is it going to get in the northeast? >> all right. well, this will be the coldest
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arctic outbreak in two decades and 100 million of us americans are going to see temperatures fall to zero degrees. so this is what it feels like tonight. it feels like 14 below in portland, like 22 below in concord, 6 below in hartford. that's the wind chill tonight. but what's happening now, we are going to see incredibly cold conditions. temperatures are low but it's the winds with this nor'easter behind it that's creating a very cold environment. but this cold outbreak, a different one sunday through wednesday, is the coldest in two decades. the winds won't be as intense but the shear air temperature will be. for boston, look what happens. 49 degrees on monday, 15 on tuesday, 30 degree temperature drop. we will kind of rebound by the end of the week but just a dramatic drop. new york, monday, 47. 11 for a high, jim. so some incredibly cold air coming. >> in the midwest, negative double digits as the kids would say, really?
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>> really wicked, right, that's what they say. minneapolis, look at this. these are the high temperatures. 14 below is the high temperature. these are straight air temperatures. minneapolis, of course, that's why on monday they closed schools, all the public schools. chicago as well, 20 below. we are going to see that early tuesday morning. so this air is incredibly cold. but now, unlike what we just saw and are currently seeing, this is going to drop down into the south. nashville has a high normally, should be at about 47. ten on monday. then we rebound ten degrees. even in atlanta, georgia, should be in the 50s. so temperatures there, 25 degrees below that. so more people certainly will be seeing and feeling this outbreak going northeast into the south. >> these are more than just numbers. they are reminder for people to be safe. thank you very much. the extreme conditions are taking a huge toll on travelers. more than 2200 flights were canceled today. that's after more than 2600 were canceled on thursday.
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cnn's rene marsh is at the magic wall watching it all. the magic can't make all these problems go away. what can you tell us? >> it certainly can't. these are all the airplanes in the sky as we speak to you right now. more than 5,000. but don't let this picture fool you. there are plenty of planes that cannot get off the ground. we will look real-time at some numbers. these numbers specifically for the hours of 3:00 p.m. eastern time to 7:00 p.m. eastern time, this is called the misery map because a lot of people at these airports are downright miserable. this is by flight aware. you can see new york city has the most cancellations and delays. we are talking about 148. again, remember, this is just a block of four hours. chicago also having a tough time there, more than 100 delays. again, just within a four block hour. again, looking really bad when it comes to delays and cancellations at some of these airports. you see the orange lines, those are the destinations as well, so
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you're seeing places like even lax and atlanta as well dallas, so it's a big ripple effect, even if it's an airport not on the eastern seaboard, we are still seeing cancellations and delays. >> the aptly named misery map there. can you tell us which airports are having the toughest time right now? i guess passengers in those airports better brace themselves. >> right. so why don't we look at that. again, this is all information in real-time from flight aware. we can tell you at this hour, the top airports seeing the most cancellations and delays, philadelphia, newark, chicago, o'hare, jfk, boston logan, so we are seeing some problems there in the way of cancellations and delays. that means scenes like this. we have some video from laguardia earlier today. you see lots of people lined up on very, very long lines. those people were lined up at the american airlines counter because their flights were canceled and they needed to be rebooked. a lot of these folks, they're
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not getting out any time soon. many of them will be stuck in these airports for days. take a listen. >> i laid down so no one will take a seat because this will be my bed for five days. >> we're told the flight is canceled. they're not giving us any hotel accommodation and we're stuck here for five days. >> all right. we'll tell you, that lady is a teacher and so her students can expect a substitute. she will be stuck there. we want to end on a high note. we know that boston logan says all of their runways are now open. jfk now has two of their four runways open. moral of the story, things are slowly but surely getting back up to speed. >> we can use some good news right now on that front. thank you very much. the frigid temperatures aren't stopping millions from digging out after that monster storm. cnn's brian stelter is on long island where the cleanup is under way. brian, we thought we had you for only a one-day deal but you came back for more. what do you have from out there?
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>> reporter: you know, i apologize for the bad rudolph the red-nosed reindeer impression. kind of late for that. but it is frigid out here and now that the sun's setting, the temperatures are going to fall even further. they are calling for a low of five degrees here tonight but the people we talked to today, the people digging out, had a pretty positive impression of things. after a night of blizzard conditions and road closures, today was all about cleanup. paul is not getting paid to plow these driveways. he says it's his good neighbor policy. in a community with a lot of seniors. >> there's no spring chickens here, you know. so if i can save somebody's back or save somebody from a heart attack, i'll do it. it's from my heart. >> reporter: he enjoys the thanks he gets. >> the lady across the street says to me when i did hers, it
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made me laugh, she said to me when's the last time i told you i loved you. i says 365 days ago. >> reporter: last year's big snowstorm left some 30 inches on some parts of long island. this time, it was more like ten. >> i started out doing it this morning about 8:00 and i just kept going. >> reporter: sal and joanne did some of their own digging before paul arrived. the real challenge was just staying warm. >> three layers of pants, three pairs of socks, two teeshirts and a sweatshirt, two scarves and two pairs of gloves. >> reporter: the brutal cold didn't keep some families from finding the fun in the first storm of the new year. >> i honestly thought it was too cold to be sledding today. >> me, too. >> reporter: some kids didn't last too long out here, though. >> had a lot of fun, but now it's getting a little too windy and cold for him. >> reporter: the winter weather bringing out the kid in all of us. though some of us need to work on our sledding technique.
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i have a feeling i'll be able to practice later this winter, the way things are going. you know, some of these storms every year, they come out worse than people expected. this one i think was right on track. the forecasts were pretty correct. as a result, this thing didn't seem too bad. people were prepared and as a result, they were able to get out and go sledding today. jim? >> we can expect more of that analysis on reliable sources, including i hope a replay of that sled run there. i guess you're getting a new appreciation -- >> reporter: i do plan on talking about what this has been like, yes. this has been educational. put it that way. >> very good. to say the least. brian stelter, thank you very much. braving the elements once again out there on long island. thank you. when we come back, growing calls for clemency for nsa leaker edward snowden but is he willing to accept his legal advisor joins us and i will ask her just ahead. plus, a political transition that could give you whiplash. a former gop governor running
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we're waiting to see whether the supreme court hands down another order in the controversy over birth control, the birth control mandate in obamacare. the obama administration is asking the high court to go ahead and clear the way for the requirement in the law that orders employers to provide free contraceptive care to their workers, even at religious nonprofits. the little sisters of the poor, a group of nuns seen in this video operating a nursing home, won a brief victory this week
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when supreme court justice sotomayor granted them a temporary break from the contraception mandate in obamacare. >> in this home, nobody dies alone. >> reporter: obeying that mandate and providing birth control coverage to their employees, the nuns argued, would violate their religious beliefs. breaking the rule, they added, would mean paying millions of dollars in fines they don't have. >> we don't get a salary, we don't have enough income so we go begging. >> reporter: in its response to sotomayor, the obama administration noted religious nonprofits have options. they can sign a document stating their religious objections and have a third party insuror provide the benefits without the nuns' involvement. the applicants have no legal basis, the government argued, to complain that it involves them in the process of providing contraceptive coverage. daniel blomberg, one of the attorneys for the little sisters of the poor, says the government is bullying the nuns. >> all the little sisters are saying is that's not a solution
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to our religious problem. in our faith, we can't do it ourselves and we can't order somebody else to do something that we can't do ourselves. >> to get fired up for the work ahead of us. >> but cecile richards from plant parenthood argues the coverage is critical for women's health. >> this other matter will be decided by the court but again, it is one that's already covered under religious exemptions that were decided months and months ago. >> later this year the supreme court is expected to hear another challenge to the birth control mandate in obamacare brought by for-profit companies. those cases won't have an impact on the overall law but they will probably serve as another reminder of the controversial aspects of obamacare heading into the midterm elections. coming up, could a dramatic political transformation give one former republican governor his old job back? and pleas for clemency. what does nsa leaker edward snowden think about the growing support for his return to the united states?
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his legal advisor joins us to respond. you're in "the situation room."
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what a difference a few years can make, especially for charlie crist, the former gop governor of florida is running for his old job, this time as a democrat, with a whole new view on same sex marriage. is this a whole new charlie crist we're seeing? >> well, that really does depend on who you ask. charlie crist says, but republicans disagree, they say this is just the latest example
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of crist embracing both sides of an issue for his own political gain. those are strong words coming from a party that just a few years ago, he was a member of. in just three years, charlie crist has gone from republican governor to independent to now a democratic candidate for governor. a political evolution that could give you whiplash. >> i think it's just been phenomenal in the speed and not just the dynamics of it. >> reporter: this week, crist, now a democrat, apologized for opposing gay marriage while he was florida's republican governor. admitting his position then was purely political. he says he was being a quote, good republican and in an interview with the lgbt website watermark, begged forgiveness. i'm sorry i did that, it was a mistake, i was wrong, please forgive me. which begs the question, is his apology genuine. >> this isn't the first issue position that charlie crist has changed and it probably isn't going to be the last position
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he's going to have to change. this is just part of the process that undergo when you switch from being a republican to a democrat. >> reporter: with changes in his position on offshore drilling and the stimulus bill already on his list. in 2010, still a republican, crist ran for a u.s. senate seat but this photo was the nail in his republican coffin and he lost to tea party backed marco rubio in the gop primary. so he switched to independent and ran in the same race. >> i didn't leave the republican party. it left me. >> reporter: still, he lost the seat. then another switch in 2012. the big one. >> yeah, i'm running as a democrat and i am proud to do it. >> reporter: and announced his candidacy for governor again, running this time not only against republican governor rick scott, but his own political past. republicans have jumped on crist's apology this week as a quote, desperate effort of political opportunism. the question now for voters to
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decide -- >> whether he was just kind of playing a game or whether he was really undergoing a transformation. >> reporter: a spokesman for crist tells cnn this is a transformation just like many americans have also evolved on the issue. this governor's race is going to be expensive, it's going to be nasty and this issue of political opportunism is just going to keep haunting him. >> florida politics. can't get enough of it. thank you. so can charlie crist win as a democrat? joining me to discuss this is cnn political commentator, ryan lizza and he is also washington correspondent for the new yorker. along with him, a.b. stoddard, associate editor of the hill newspaper. thanks for joining us. i remember covering crist versus rubio, that was basically the race that forced charlie crist to eventually leave the party. you know, on same sex marriage, he's not the first politician to come around to evolve on this. president obama being one of them. what do you think, ryan, can charlie crist pull this off? >> on that issue, you're right. most democrats in the senate, most democrats around the
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country just a couple years ago were against gay marriage. it's only been a more recent transformation for most of them. i think he could get by with that switch. you look at abortion, which is a pretty deeply held view by most politicians and most people who care about that issue, and he's moved on that. the parties are pretty polarized in florida. we're not talking about a state like a new england state where there's not that big a difference between the democrats and republicans. talking about going from essentially a right wing republican to a pretty liberal democrat in a short period of time. >> what do you think, a.b.? >> charlie crist is a very effective politician and knows what he's doing. he knew exactly when to endorse john mccain in the 2008 cycle. he knew after his loss to marco rubio that the republican party of florida had no room for a republican like him. he was actually never really a very conservative right wing republican. he was a member of the naacp in his youth.
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he is very effective at reaching out, ingratiating himself to the proper constituencies. >> i think he's leading in the polls. as far as whether he can win, yes. he can. >> he knows how to do this and is going to do it. >> rick scott, there is the issue of rick scott down in florida. he is not exactly mr. popular down there. he's had some issues along the way. but what about, i mean, the problem for charlie crist is changing from republican to democrat. that is a tough thing to pull off, isn't it? >> i think so. he's lucky because the incumbent is very unpopular. we are in a climate where incumbents everywhere are unpopular. there are different categories of party switchers. ronald reagan was a democrat at one time. of course, he became the most important republican of the modern era. lots of new england's republicans have become democrats and lots of obviously southern democrats have become republicans.
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but the public moved underneath their feet and they kind of moved with the public. what charlie crist is doing, there's no move in florida. florida is polarized with a very big democratic party, competitive republican party. this is pure opportunism. it's not some historic wave he's moving along with. >> when he was a republican governor he supported the stimulus. he was not trying to become a democrat then. hillary clinton supported gay marriage until it was time -- i mean, excuse me, opposed gay marriage, supported traditional marriage until it was okay to come out and support gay marriage. >> that's the question i have. there's this case out in utah that's being decided on, that is going to be very important in the coming months. i wanted to ask you on this issue of same sex marriage, we have seen the democratic party, as you just mentioned, have this huge shift. the president, hillary clinton and others. what about the republican party? by the time we get to 2016, are we going to see some of these perhaps big contenders for the presidency have to move? >> i think that is going to be one of the most fascinating things to watch between midterm
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elections this fall in 2014 to the primary process and when the republican party picks somebody, is that person going to come out and change their mind. looking at the overwhelming numbers of support for gay marriage among young voters. >> i think we are probably another at least one more election cycle away from a republican candidate, competitive republican candidate to go into a presidential election, supporting gay marriage, and the reason is iowa. it's the first state, is very, very solidly socially conservative republican electorates. >> south carolina right after that. >> that's a more libertarian state where gay marriage is more popular among republicans but still, the fact that iowa goes first and south carolina goes third -- >> changes the dynamic completely. >> you're looking at 2020 before you see a competitive gop candidate. >> i thought this was a very important development today. the obama administration announced these changes to the background checks system today, sort of slipped them out there. basically it makes it easier for some of the states to provide information to the background check system on mentally ill
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people, to keep them from obtaining firearms. this is obviously an issue that has really dogged this president because he's had multiple high profile, very grisly mass shootings on his watch. a.b., what did you make of this? >> i'm not surprised the administration has been enormously frustrated by coming so close to moving something out of the senate and failing. they know there's no chance in an election year they will move anything through the congress in terms of legislation. these were not controversial. they are simply a way to better define what terms, defining mental health problems, would prevent you from clearing a background check and asking hospitals to share more information. i don't really think -- >> because of federal privacy laws, a lot of hospitals -- >> they want to address the mental health issue, and the gun rights side has been saying that needs to be done as a priority. >> you should expect more from the white house, more executive actions going forward for the rest of this term, as his agenda sort of dries up in congress and becomes harder and harder to get things like gun control passed through a republican house.
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you are going to see the president looking more and more towards executive actions. his new advisor that's coming into the white house, this is something he's been talking about for months. >> the mental health issue is woefully undercovered. we try to cover it here as much as possible at cnn but even a lot of republicans have said if there's one area we can agree to focus on, it's this area. perhaps he won't get as much feedback from republicans on this, blowback from republicans on this? >> i don't think so. as i said, it was addressing the mental health question which is such a big part of the crisis, both of the orders had to do with that. i think it's a way of trying to build bipartisan support because that's the policy issue that republicans are saying you're not really taking a hard look at, you're only concerned about the weapons. >> thank you both very much for your time. we appreciate it. good to see you. when we come back, what does nsa leaker edward snowden think about the prominent new calls for support for him? his legal advisor joins us. i'll ask her. and hitting the slopes? look at this. russian president vladimir putin
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it's hard to describe, because you have a numbness, but yet you have the pain like thousands of needles sticking in your foot. it was progressively getting worse, and at that point i knew i had to do something. once i started taking the lyrica the pain started subsiding. [ male announcer ] it's known that diabetes damages nerves. lyrica is fda approved to treat diabetic nerve pain. lyrica is not for everyone. it may cause serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worsening depression, or unusual changes in mood or behavior. or swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters,
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changes in eyesight including blurry vision, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling, or skin sores from diabetes. common side effects are dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and swelling of hands, legs and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. those who have had a drug or alcohol problem may be more likely to misuse lyrica. ask your doctor about lyrica today. it's specific treatment for diabetic nerve pain. two prominent newspapers, the "new york times" and "the guardian" are coming to the defense of controversial nsa leaker edward snowden, calling for some sort of deal which would allow him to return to the united states, from russia where he was granted temporary asylum. but what, if anything, would snowden agree to? joining us now is legal advisor to edward snowden.
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jecelyn, just to get us started here, when is the last time you spoke with edward snowden and how is he doing these days in russia? >> we speak regularly by encryption and he's doing great. he's doing very well. >> i guess you have probably seen in the "new york times" and "the guardian" the last couple days that those newspapers have called for some sort of plea bargain or clemency for edward snowden. what is your sense as to whether or not he would be agreeable to something like that? would he be agreeable to coming back to the united states, admitting some guilt in exchange for some leniency? >> i can't get into plea bargain negotiations, really, on the air but he certainly would love to come back to the united states if the conditions were right, and i think some sort of pardon or amnesty would be appropriate, and again, if there were conditions attached to that amnesty, that's not something i can speculate about really, but
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he would definitely be amenable under conditions such as a pardon or amnesty to coming back. >> would he accept anything less than a full pardon or amnesty at this point? or he's just not interested in talking about that? >> no one has contacted his attorneys and the justice department certainly knows how to get ahold of us, if it would like to talk about these issues, which i would be glad to run by my client. i can't say for sure right now. i don't think he's committed any crime and i don't think he -- i think he's been punished quite enough already by being stripped of his statehood and basically exiled for the past six months. i think he certainly has paid a very high price already for the amount of good he has done the public through his disclosures. good that has now been recognized not only by a federal court judge, two federal court
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judges and a white house internal hand-picked review panel. and now both the "new york times" and "the guardian" editorial boards said that he should be able to come back and really be able to resume his reform efforts immediately here in the u.s. and not, you know, not have to serve any kind of jail time. that would not be appropriate. >> what other information does he have that might be of interest to the united states government, because one thing that we heard from a security official at the national security agency, pretty top official over there said that he would be interested in some sort of amnesty for edward snowden in exchange for his data. does he have some of this still in his possession? would he be open to providing everything that he has back to the federal government in exchange for some sort of deal? >> as far as i know, he no longer possesses any data and has not had possession of any
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data since he left hong kong for russia. so that would not really pertain. however, i do think he has other things to bring to bear in the conversation that the government might want to initiate and they know how to find myself and ben weisner from the aclu if they want to start a conversation about amnesty or pardon. >> you said just a few moments ago you don't believe edward snowden has committed any crimes. i don't want to let that go unchallenged because there are a lot of people inside this country, as you know, and inside this administration, inside the obama administration, who passionately believe that edward snowden did commit crimes, that he made agreements with the national security agency as a contractor to keep these secrets and yet he violated that. isn't that true? >> actually not. the secrecy agreement is eclipsed by the oath he took to
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uphold the constitution. secrecy agreements don't protect violations of the law. in terms of who is really violating the law here, it's the nsa, which has violated section 215 of the patriot act and the foreign intelligence surveillance act and numerous other laws, and no one from nsa has been held accountable, nor has the director of national intelligence, james clapper, for lying to congress. so i would suggest the government start by looking in its own backyard before trying to go after a whistleblower who has started a conversation not only in our own country but a necessary conversation around the world. >> you just mentioned the director of national intelligence. we should point out that just today, the fisa court, the federal intelligence surveillance court, issued a ruling that it does approve the government's application to renew the collection of that
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telephone metadata and i'm just curious, having heard that, what your reaction to that decision might be and what mr. snowden's reaction might be. >> that decision would obviously be quite different if it occurred in an actual federal article three constitutional federal court as evidenced by judge leon's ruling in washington, d.c. finding the metadata collection program, finding it both ineffective and likely unconstitutional. as you may know, the fisa court hears only one side of the case in secret without challenge and has pretty much rubber-stamped all applications. in fact, in 2011, it granted all -- it was over 1,000 different applications, every single one. it's a rubber stamp. even though there are federal judges on the fisa court, it is a creature created by congress
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that operates more like a grand jury than a real open federal court. where the 215 metadata program, there's no way it will be able to survive. >> well, thank you very much for your time. we appreciate it. of course, if you could let mr. snowden know the next time you talk to him that we would love to talk to him over here at cnn about what he's up to and how he's doing over in russia and what the future might hold. thank you very much for your time. we appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. it's been a violent week in russia. over 30 people were killed by a suspected suicide bombings in the city of volgograd. it was a strange image to see russian president vladimir putin skiing today, yes, skiing, there he is, even with the winter olympics just around the corner. joining me is cnn's foreign affairs correspondent, jill dougherty. vladimir putin on skis. that is -- he has been known to do a lot of things out there that have caught our eye, and this would be another one of them. >> you know, you used the word
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image and the kremlin is acutely aware of its image. today, president putin strapped on his skis to prove he's on the case to make the sochi olympics safe. after days of horrific images of terrorist bombings raised fears that russia's upcoming olympics could be vulnerable, president vladimir putin and his prime minister took to the slopes above sochi. media cameras in tow. the athletic russian leader looking relaxed and confident. even pausing for a glass of mulled wine. the sochi olympics are a little over five weeks away. president putin has visited the sites several times but on this trip, he inspected the hotels where athletes in training
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already are living, and russian media reported, completely surprised them. he asked one of the female athletes if conditions are okay. yes, generally, she said, but there are a few things not right. when he pressed her for details, she said she preferred to tell him when the cameras stopped rolling. the russian government is spending an estimated $2 billion on security for the games, but one russia expert says there could be a broader threat. >> let's just say that the olympic sites themselves are safe. that doesn't prevent terrorist attacks in moscow, in other cities, through which people have to travel in order to get to the olympic sites. it doesn't prevent possible attacks on infrastructure, which could cause chaos. >> reporter: mr. putin is intent on preventing any attacks. the sochi games are a showcase
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for the russia he wants to present to the world, and his spokesman says putin will inspect a number of venues for the sochi games as well as watch rehearsals for the opening and closing ceremonies. >> the world will be watching. thank you very much, jill dougherty. just ahead, violence escalates in south sudan as americans flee the country. cnn gets rare access inside the war zone and a bulldozer explodes in germany. was it caused by a bomb left over from world war ii? welcome back. how is everything? there's nothing like being your own boss! and my customers are really liking your flat rate shipping. fedex one rate. really makes my life easier. maybe a promotion is in order.
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peace talks between the government and rebels in south sudan are under way as both
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sides desperately try to stop the escalating violence. more than 1,000 people have been killed and about 200,000 have been displaced. it's gotten so bad, the u.s. is urging all americans to evacuate the country. advice many u.s. citizens are taking, helped by marines from a special crisis response unit. only essential staff will remain at the embassy. as cnn's senior international correspondent arwa damon, she got rare access inside the war zone. >> reporter: prior to the recent outbreak in fighting, the united nations was not patrolling like this in the streets of the capital, juba, nor was it in most parts of the country. in fact, the united nations was seriously considering refocusing its mission, focusing more on development. that is how optimistic people were about the prospects for this country. but now, that has all changed. >> so our focus was really shifting in line with the situation we thought prevailed
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and that we were seeing in south sudan. and it is almost unimaginable what has struck this country during the past three weeks. >> reporter: we're heading towards one of the neighborhoods that saw some of the worst violence. we were down there a few days ago and it was almost completely deserted. part of the aim of these patrols is not just securing the local civilian population, but also trying to rebuild a sense of confidence amongst people that it is safe enough for them to go back home. >> i want to know that there's no problem. okay. thank you, my brother. okay? >> everyone can go back. >> reporter: the neighborhood down the road does still remain fairly deserted, but out here, we are seeing more open shops, more activity in the streets and members of the u.n. team trying to engage the population. these types of interactions are
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especially critical at a time like this. >> there are sharp wounds that have been opened and i think it will take some time to heal the ruptures that exist. but where -- there really are differences across the country, and just as things unravelled very quickly, it is possible that things can come together again. i have to be a believer in that as well. >> reporter: this is one of the u.n. compounds in the capital, and even though the situation outside its gates is relatively speaking fairly safe, even those who do leave the compound during the day tend to come back at night. but the main issue for the u.n. is not necessarily protecting those civilians that have managed to seek sang wear within its various bases across the country. the key issue is the tens of thousands of civilians who have
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not made it to u.n. bases, who are believed to be hiding out in remote corners of the country out in the bush, without access to proper food, clean water, or medical care. the longer this drags on, the more dire the situation for the civilians will become. arwa damon, cnn, juba. let's look at some of the other stories coming in, two facebook users are take the giant to court. saying it takes private data, and then sells it to third parties. they say it violates the privacy act. facebook did not immediately respond to a question for comment. at least one person is dead, 13 people are wounded after a bull doze are exploded in germany. authorities believe it hit an old bomb left over from world war ii. the blast damaged nearby homes as well, finding old bombs in germany is so common, companies often hire bomb disposal teams
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to check out siting before starting construction projects. and general mills said they switched the type of corn and sugar it using and says the whole grain oats were never genetically modified, general mills says the changes only apply to original cheerios, and removing gmos from other products we're very difficult. a nasty snowstorm on the mayor's first week. did he do right by the rest of the city? marijuana is not only for smokers, it's also for foodies? the wide array of pot you can eat. that's coming up.
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you probably heard about this, but marijuana has been on sale in ko coal for a few days now. you may not know it's also available in candies, cakes and pies. here's cnn's annika cabrera. >> reporter: forget about smoking a joint. >> we have all the edibles you can imagine. >> reporter: we're not just talking brownies. >> this is a 70 milligram pumpkin pie. >> reporter: day the world of edibles is reaching new extremes. >> hundreds and hundreds of products. >> you are inside denver's ganja gourmet. now a pot product supermarket of sorts, specializing in marijuana-infused candy, cookies and crispy treats. >> reporter: if you have a sweet tooth, this is the way to go? >> reporter: but coffee, butter and tea.
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there's something here to make sure everyone happy. want a protein-packed hot pick? try the peanut butter, no problem. how about a sugar-free sucker? why edibles? >> the reason why i choose them is i'm not into the whole smoking. i do it every once in a while. >> reporter: easy on the lungs, odor free. some say it's also easier to control dosing. how do you know the dosage is what you say it is? >> we make our hash oil. that's the base of the product. if it tests out at this percentage of thc and the other cannabinoids, we did do the equation and the math. >> reporter: morgan is in the business of making marijuana edibles. canyon cultivation uses hash oil to make hard candy.
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>> is this your kitchen? >> this is the lab. >> reporter: it's one of the budding businesses that's estimated to be part of the billion dollar industry, which analysts say could quadruple in a few years. >> we love our baklava here. >> reporter: it's a top seller netting $3,000 a month. >> buttery goodness. >> reporter: here it's all about the canna-butter, marijuana trimmings roasted in butter for up to 24 hours, the result a high potency thc product baked into each treat. >> how many different items do you make? >> we have about 44 different products currently. >> in three years, the customer list has grown from three dispensaries to 40. that's just for marijuana sales. >> what do you anticipate with recreational sale of marijuana? >> chaos, crazies in. >> reporter: yet state and local regulators are working to keep things under control. while marijuana edibles aren't
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currently regulated, food infuser will have to follow new rules in the new year. one of the new rules has to do with child resistant packaging, meaning it has to come in an opaque package with a two-step process to opening it. keeping people safe, especially children, is a high priority for this industry under scrutiny. the world is watching. >> we consider ourselves pioneer to the end of prohibition. >> reporter: as kitchens take a bigger bite out of marijuana market. ana cabrera, cnn, denver. happening now, arctic blast, about 140 million americans are bracing for a life-threatening cold tonight and into next week, with subzero temperatures lower than they have been in many years. plus science smackdown. tv's bill nye joins us to explain would you he's taking parity in an evil yugsism versus
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creation debate. and wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim acosta, and you are in "the situation room." right now temperatures are starting to nose-dive, a dangerous and historic black of cold air is expected to bring subzero weather to parts of the northeast tonight between now and wednesday nearly half of the nation will shiver through temperatures of zero or below. the windchill could make it feel like 45 degrees below in new england overnight, on top of a mountain of snow of two feet in some places, boston is one of the hardest-hit cities by the first major winter storm of the year, cnn's frederick pleitgen is there. fred, how cold is it getting? >> very cold. i can tell you, just the time we've been here, so far the temperatures have already started to plummet. we're now at maybe five degrees above zero, but we expect the
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temperatures to go down to at least 7 degrees below zero in the time we'll be here the next couple hours. today was a day, of course, jim, where many people were digging out of the snow and now preparing to be in the deep freeze. let's have a look. after the big snowstorm -- >> i thought it was going to 1 or 2 inches, but it's like blizzard. >> reporter: -- comes the deep freeze. >> first time i've ever had to jump-start it. >> reporter: communities in the northeast found themselves battling heavy novel through the morning hours. now officials warn the cold will become even more dangerous. >> it is deceptively cold. it is the coldest it's been all year, and people i think sometimes think it doesn't feel so bad, but if you stay out there too long, it would feel bad and will feel dangerous. >> the weather already caused many accidents, plummeting temperatures will mean that salt used on the roads will be
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largely ineffective, making things even more slippery. crews in the region worked through friday and largely managed to keep root passable, even with heavy snowfall. >> as you can see, the travel lanes are like the turnpike, wind blow. >> just scrape them down so they don't keep building up. tomorrow when the sun comes up it would be that much easier. >> reporter: in coastal areas, the storm was even more intense with a high rick of flooding in low-lying areas. most warnings were lifted by the afternoon, with water causing limited damage. now all eyes are on the therm or meters, as freezing air moves in. as you can hear, jim, the church bills are going off. many people here in boston most probably are praying for warmer weather. however, there are some who believe the negative temperature record might be smashed in this night and as you said, some places will go as minus 24, some
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even believe it would feel, because of the windchill, like it's 45 degrees below zero, jim. >> frederick pleitgen, they should hear that bell and go indoors. we appreciate it. a brand-new leak from edward snowden, documents showing the nsa is working to build a very expensive super-computer, that could be used to crack most protection codes. >> it's not just the codes that guard business and government, it's the encryption many of us use every day to access our bank accounts, medical record. when the nsa finishes the so-called quantum computer, about all of that can be broken and it may be pointless to try to protect anything. evan crips, the scrabble abled codes that protect our most sensitive information online, sheed the most top secret information that we possess. now the nsa is reportedly
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developing a quantum computer. when complete, it will be able to break about any encryption in the world. at cnn we use encryption like had rsa system to get into data we should only see to authenticate us. when nsa gepts that quantum computer, what will it be able to do? >> it would be a game changer, a lot easier for nsa to break the codes that foreign governments use, that foreign criminal groups use. >> reporter: but nsa will also be able to break encryption codes we all use to protect or bank accounts, e-mails, medical records. a privacy advocate said it may lead to a world with no secrets. >> we don't know for the most part in fact what the capabilities are, what steps are being taken to undermine the types of encryption that you and i might rely on, for example, when we go online to purchase a book or download some music. >> recently, we learned -- >> reporter: the program is revealed in documents provided by nsa leaker edward snowden and
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reported by "the washington post." how would this super-computer work? when a regular computer tries to solve a problem, it has to go through each possible sluice one by one by one until it arrives at the correct answer. what makes a computer so special, it simultaneously tries every possibility. according to the documents, the quantum computers being developed at this lab in college park, maryland. quantum computing is so fragile, that it's being build in specialized room-size cages. how close is nsa to finishes the computer? experts say it could be anywhere from five years away to a decade or more. contacted by cnn, the nsa would not comment on this project. >> it seems we're doing a story on the nsa every day. turning to the middle east, where secretary of state john kerry insists the peace mission is not mission impossible.
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he's engaging in intense talking, and our senior international correspondent nic robertson has an update from jerusalem. >> reporter: five months of handshakes and talks already. the ninth time secretary kerry has come to push israeli and palestinian leaders toward peace. >> i plan to work with both sides more intensely in these next days. >> reporter: and leave four months to the talks deadline and no agreement yet. kerry upping the pressure for compromise, proposing a framework to reach a permanent state of peace agreement, addressing core issues -- borders, security, refugees, jerusalem, mutual recognition, and the end of conflict. >> it would create the fixed and defined parameters by which the party would then know where they are going and what the end result can be. >> reporter: a one-way ticket to
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peace, only kerry on board so far. >> there's growing doubt in israel that the palestinians are committed to peace. >> reporter: the israeli prime minister unusually robust in his criticism of the palestinian president he's being asked to make peace with. >> in recent weeks, israel has been subjected to a growing wave of terrorist attacks. president abbas didn't see fit to condemn these attacks. >> reporter: so far kerry has had two long sessions with neddenia hue, and one with abbas, with more to come. one palestinian who quit the negotiations recently, says the talks are in crisis, that the gaps are getting wider and israeli expectations are impossible to meet. kerry in no mood to quit. >> it will take compromise from both sides, but an agreed frame
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work would be a significant breakthrough. a significant breakthrough, though, that for now at least seems a significantly long way off. nic robertson, cnn, jerusalem. still ahead, president obama's vacation obsession. we'll talk about his govathon in hawaii, and why his games can drag on for hour. and the first big test for new york's new mayor. [ male announcer ] this is the story
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sgleech at long last president obama wraps ups his hawaiian vacation, and he may try to work in at least one more game of golf before he leaves. >> happy new year, guys. >> we love you. >> i love you back. >> reporter: after a long hard year, it appears that president obama needed an extra round of stress relief during his hawaiian vacation. he's been spending most days on the golf course honing his swing and escape the grind of leading the free world. even for this president, a day on the links can be frustrating. mr. obama is the latest in a long line of first golfers, many leaders have seen as a getaway "new york times" examined presidential styles, and whether the pace on the golf course may mirror their approach to running -- president obama is a
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deliberate and methodical player, it can take him up to six hours for one round, a stark contrast to some predecessors. george w. bush and his father were known as speed demons on the golf course, those bush 41 slowed down some when he played in the same tournament as tiger woods. then there's the man known as the comeback kids, clinton, famous for do-overs. when president obama was teeing off with clinton, he reportedly was tee off by the frequent do-overs. according to the book "double down" he was frustrated. let's bring in golf channel contributor martin davis, thank you very much for joining us. be appreciate it. what about this notion that a presidential style or personal can be found in his or her golf game?
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>> it certainly can. you look at somebody like lbj, who wasn't known for it but played the game. he would take congressional leaders out to play golf, and in the words they used then, he would jawbone congress, and he got a lot of legislation passed for the civil rights act in particular. >> why is the game so popular with commanders in chief? you know, i've always wondered this. make they just get sucked into the game, you know, because it's a convenient i guess, escape from the white house. there's several golf courses around the white house. is that it? what is it? >> it's a wonderful game, and i think it's a game that you can play when you're older, and people start to get into it, and it consumes you. i think you'll see business people, anyone who plays avidly once the bug bites them, it's -- it's got them.
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you know, every president since taft has played except for jimmy cart carter. most are very avid. most weren't very good. a few were. john f. kennedy was probably the best, ike was probably the most avid. wilson played, believe it or not, every day of his presidency, snow or not. >> how did he do that? >> well, he -- remember, that was in the early 1900s. he would go out, security wasn't i guess needed as much as it is now, and he would go out and -- there was a group in westchester county that was reported every weekend in "new york times" at a course side siwanoy. they would paint their golf balls and play that way, but wilson did it. >> martin, we were just showing
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presidents over the year. we show the eisenhower, the bushing and clinton. who do you think is the best of the presidential golfers? is it somebody who assistants out as the best one? >> they say that kennedy was, though he tried to hide his golf. he one placed at a course at cape cod, played 17 holes and said i better walk in before the press sees me, because this is really a very -- at the time it was thought of a very republican game, but given president obama now, and given president clinton, it's become a game for both parties. >> i would definitely say it's bipartisan now, no question about it. >> what is your favorite story, looking back over the years, presidents in this sport? >> i would think -- >> i think one of the great ones is about president eisenhower. you know, it seems in the late article 50s, television, arnold
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palmer, golf and ike all came along together and the masters. it started the second really great golf boom in this country. ike used to take a cupping weeks, go down to augusta and play, and he was there when the annual meeting was, and someone asked the chairman asked, does anybody have any questions? or any motions? and ike raised his hand. at the time he was president of the united states, and he said, there's a tree, a loblolly pine tree in the middle of the 17th fairway, just a little off to the left. i keep hitting my ball in there. could we have it cut down? well, since it was the president of the united states making the motion, they quickly ended the meeting, and they gavelled the meeting to a close. to this day the big pine is still there, and it's called ike's tree. >> terrific story. martin davis, golf channel
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contributor, thank you very much. a lot of fun looking back at the presidents over the years. i wish i could play it well. i just need more time. >> we all do. >> martin, thank you very much. he makes science fun, but notice bill nye the science guy, is having a serious debate. he's joining us why to explain why. it's coming up.
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more cold is on the way, which means more tough choices for the big apple's new mayor. bill de blasio made a point of
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shoveling his own driveway. how did he manage with the rest of the city? susan candiotti tells us. >> reporter: new york's new mayor bill de blasio showing he's no stranger to a shovel. clearing his own brooklyn sidewalk. >> my house is my responsibility to keep that walk clear. shoveling is a fine form of exercise. didn't have to go to the gym today. >> reporter: an obvious contrast in style from the billionaire predecessor who lives on the upper east side and got pummelled for a slow snow response three years ago. >> i'm very proud of the people who work for this city. >> reporter: innist first test of mayor versus nature, de blasio heaped praise on the road crews and his bosses. ambulances that were stuck or couldn't get through streets back in 2010 were only delayed by a minute or so this time, according to the mayor. a lot of new yorkers gave him
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good reviews so far. >> all the times with the snowplows, and opened everything up. it's great. >> i think he got his first big assignment, right? from the perspective of this neighborhood, pretty good. >> reporter: yet still getting blasted by critics over the stinging criticism leveled at now former mayor bloomberg during the inauguration, as bloomberg sat in a front-row seat. >> housing developments stand in the neglected shadow of gleaming multimillion dollar condos. >> reporter: on friday, the liberal leaning "new york times" weighed in writing, quote -- mr. bloomberg deserved better than tacky haranging from speakers eager to parrot the campaign theme. even when it comes to handling a snowstorm, for whether de blasio can prove golf, including hard-working sanitation workers, can work efficiently. for some, snow transcends
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politics. >> to. >> reporter: and i mayor was also asked about closing schools. after all, that forces hard-working parents to have to scramble for emergency care. but in this case, de blasio did close schools just like his predecessor did during major storms. in this case, he said he did it because of the bitterly cold temperatures. you can see my breath, which could be potentially dangerous, especially for young children and the very old. jim? >> another sign how big the mike roar scope is. the mayor gets a very thorough review. all right, susan, thank you very much. >> reporter: he always does. an age-old debate. the debate will soon play out. a founder of a kentucky museum is set to face off with none other than about ilnibill nye,
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science guy. thank you for joining us, bill. we appreciate it. how did this debate come about? >> well, a little over a year ago, i mentioned something to the associated press about my concern about science literacy, and people who want to teach that the earth might be 10,000 years old in science class, and how this would not be in the best interests of the united states or really of the world. and so one thing led to another, and this notorious -- or well-known creationist asked me to debate him. i said, okay. >> let me bring in what the founder of the creation museum, who you will be debating wrote about all of this. he says this debate will help highlight the fact that so many are just missing the bible because of evolution, even many young people decided the --
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could not be trusted. >> as i say, i'm not going to tack or not concerned about anybody's religion per se, but the earth is not 10,000 years old, evolution is real, you and i are a result of it, and this is important for our young people to know because they are the future. we have to have a scientifically literate populace in order to solve the world's problems, make life better as much as possible in the coming decades. to have the scientifically illiterate point of view in your neighborhood, or in the state, is not in anyone's best interests, and so we're going to talk about it. >> let me ask you, bill, because not everybody is in your camp on this, even on the evolution
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side. one science blogger, greg lleyton, is criticizing your participation, and says -- bill nye is not an expert on evolution, and not that experienced in debates, bag really pro-science and science education is not enough. when they went in after osama bin laden, they did not send people really against terrorism, they sent in s.e.a.l. team 6. what do you make of that criticism, bill? >> for me, i think the word debate is used loosely here. i'm not going to change this guy's mind. i imagine he'll fill the audience with his own supporters, but -- >> you're going to be outnumbered there? >> yeah, i believe so. i would be surprisefold i weren't, but bring it on. for the people who live in that area, the kentucky area adjacent to cincinnati, you don't want science students exposed -- not
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exposed, given the idea that the earth might be 10,000 years old. this is just -- or 6,000 years old. this is not -- an economic concern. we don't want people in the future who are going to become or scientists and engineers to not grasp the importance of the process of science. >> and bill, you were just saying you were going to be outnumbed better there. you said bring it on. are you going to win this debate? >> as i say, i don't think i'm going to be able to change this guy's mind, but i hope i'm ability to influence some people in the area that this sort of thinking is not in the national interests. this is -- it's -- i'm not sure really, one of the things i would like to find out is if this guy really believes this, or is he in it for some other reason? because it's so extraordinary. it's so out of your everyday experience, and so inconsistent
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with everything that we observe in nature. >> it's going to be a fascinating debate, bill. thanks for coming in and discussing this. it sounds like it will be a fascinating debate. we will be watching. >> thank you. that's it for now. thank you very much. wolf blitzer will be in next week, and "crossfire" starts right now. tonight on "crossfire", colorado experiments with marijuana. >> leave the weed smokers alone. weed has never killed nobody. >> as of this week, buying and selling pot is okay in colorado. should the rest of the country get in line? >> i think we are setting an example for other states. on the left, van jones. on the right newt gingrich. in the "crossfire", alan st. pierre, who is leading the national fight for legalization. and former congressman patrick kennedy, who is against it. should marijuana be legal nationwide? tonight on "crossfire."
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welcome to "crossfire." i'm newt gingrich on the right. >> i'm van jones on the left. in the crossfire tonight, we have two leaders in the fight and against legalizing pot. now, this week, thousands of people in colorado stood in line to buy legal pot. here's where i stand. i hate drug use and drug abuse. i've seen the harm it's done to good people and families and neighborhoods. but i hate the drug war even more. it wastes money texas ruins lives. the numbers now show it unfairly targets people of color and the poor. this is one case where the solution is actually worse than the disease itself form a this point i support decriminalization, but i want to regulate it, tax it and discourage its used. i don't want my kids or yours using drugs. i