tv Smerconish CNN December 26, 2015 6:00am-7:01am PST
girl who dreams of being a doctor when she grows up have a message to other apparents. get your child vaccinated for the flu. gemma is doing better, but she's still not out of the woods yet. now every year children do die of the flu, and it's not too late to get a flu shot this season. errol, christi? >> elizabeth, thank you. my gosh, if that is not going to influence you. >> just get the flu shot. >> she said a lot of people think, i didn't think it was that serious. we have so much news to tell you about this morning. >> that's right. "cnn newsroom" starts now. breaking news now. deadly weather hammering the south and the midwest. homes are destroyed. roads are washed out. people are trapped, and it's not even over. there's another system that could impact more than 22 million of us today. and we're also following breaking news for you this morning out of southern california. look at this footage.
a rapidly growing wildfire has forced evacuations and road closures. we'll talk to officials there on the ground trying to get word out to residents right now. and also developing this morning, a suspicious fire at a houston mosque is under federal investigation after officials discover multiple points of origin. was it arson? was it a hate crime? you're in the "cnn newsroom." 9:01 straight up right now. and so good to have you with us. i'm christi paul. >> i'm errol barnett. in this weekend for victor blackwell. good to be by your side. >> thank you for getting up early on a holiday weekend. all righty. listen, let's get to the breaking news out of california, first of all. a wildfire is raging out of control. mandatory evacuations in place now. highways are closed. the 1,000-acre blaze is ramging near ventura. >> officials say the fire is uncontained. at this moment, parts of the 101 freeway and the pacific coast highway, these are major
arteries in this part of california. they are shut down. >> look at the video that we got in from overnight. we're talking about more than 500 firefighters responding to this blaze right now. and helicopters are being used to dump water on those flames. now, the salomar beach community under mandatory evacuation. another beach community under voluntary evacuation right now. here's the report filed by kabc just a moment ago. >> reporter: this is where all the fuel is burning uphill, which is good news. the fuel is burning uphill, but the wind is holding it now. so it's not ferociously burning down with the winds behind it towards any homes in this area here, but that's the most active flames here. we're going to pick up some speed and fly faster to the west here, see if we can't get a better look at the salima beach. we see a canyon over there. there actually is heavier flame. as we pull out and i'll turn up some and show you a better shot here as we pan to the right,
you're going to see this fire line, a very lazy fire line as we pan up to the west. just lazy flame. nothing too bad. they're not too particularly worried about this. but you can see some of the firefighting aircraft come through the frame here. they're going to be dropping this firefighting aircraft right on that. these are the kind of drops they're doing that are saving these homes. that fire at night with these pilots using night-vision goggles to drop that water in that canyon at night. that's huge. right now that's what stopped this fire from really affecting these homes here. >> all of that still unfolding. we'll get you a live report from the scene later in the show. see if they can get some of that blaze contained. >> absolutely, yeah. we are in for one wild weekend of weather across the u.s. blizzards in the west. powerful rainstorms in the east. 14 million of us facing new severe weather threats today. and that increases to 22 million of us tomorrow. >> consider this. in just the past 24 hours, the south has been getting drenched
with double-digit rain totals which has just caused terrible flooding in some places. you see some of the pictures there. the same region still reeling from that tornado outbreak earlier this week. and unfortunately, the death toll continues to rise. at least 15 people are now confirmed dead. you see from which states they were located. dozens more are injured across mississippi, arkansas and tennessee. our nick valencia is following all the latest developments for us and joins us now. there's so much damage that this storm has brought with it. nick? >> good morning, errol. a terrible christmas hole day for those affected by these storms sweeping through the southern portion of the united states. parts of mississippi, georgia, tennessee, as well as alabama. birmingham had a potential tornado christmas day. and this damage that we're seeing is more typical for the springtime. bad news is more could be on the way. >> reporter: severe weather batters several southern states.
heavy rains hammer parts of alabama. at least 20 inches fell in less than 24 hours at the airport in gadsden. the water made some roads impassable. rescue crews helping residents trapped in their homes. the national weather service said a potential tornado touched down in birmingham, causing damage to several blocks. >> the damage was done was confined to approximately one square mile. we had three structures, three houses, that collapsed. we transported one patient from the scene. there were two others that were removed from the structure, but we reported no injuries. >> reporter: alabama's governor declared a state of emergency because of widespread flooding. at least 117 homes overcome by water. in georgia, the rain damaged roads and made driving treacherous. and in mississippi, flood warnings and relentless rain add more misery to areas already devastated by tornadoes that
killed at least eight people in the state. many roads are flooded, and some people are dealing with rising water in their homes. in mississppi, victor and tamika hale watched as their home of ten years was overtaken by water. >> the lawn mower, the trailer, it just floated away, garbage can, everything gone. >> it happened so fast, we had to get up and get out of there. the rain was coming way too fast. >> reporter: the couple and their 9-year-old son now homeless and staying with relatives. >> it's discouraging. we lost everything. my child, he didn't get none of his christmas items. >> of course, we have to remember the victims, the youngest is reported to be just a 7-year-old boy in mississippi. two people still unaccouted there in the state. many more displaced. several had to stay the night in a shelter. imagine spending your christmas like that. if you are feeling generous and want to help these people out, if this story impacts you, go to cnn.com/impact and contribute to those affected by this deadly holiday storm system. >> nick, thank you so much.
and thank you to all of you who may click on that and try to help some of these folks. you just cannot imagine what it's like for them this weekend. not only them, but you may be one of the millions who are trying to get home and watching us from an airport or listening in a car as you're stuck somewhere. cnn meteorologist allison chinchar is going to walk us through what we can expect over the next few hours. so allison, what we're seeing, is it going to get worse, or it's just going to be some of the same? >> it's just going to be some of the same. maybe in some new parts but also right over the same spots that have already been dealing with a lot of rain. this is a map showing the amount of rain that we expect through monday. and you can see here, talk about oklahoma, missouri, arkansas, we're talking eight to ten inches of rain. but also notice states like mississippi, alabama, tennessee and georgia, an additional six inches of rain. again, folks, these areas have already had eight to ten inches of rain on top of now what they're likely already going to get just in the next couple of days. we look ahead as to what we're going to be dealing with over
the course of the next couple of days. because we also have the severe weather threat. now we actually have an enhanced threat over dallas. so not just a slight risk which will include cities like san antonio and little rock, but again, the bull's-eye seems to be right over dallas. if you have any travel plans in, out or around dallas, give yourself extra time. be patient. and check with your airline carriers because we will be dealing with isolated tornadoes here as well as damaging winds. san antonio off to memphis down to new orleans will be the big threat tomorrow. so again, this system begins to progress a little bit farther east. and when it does, it takes the severe weather with it. the big threat, however, more widespread is going to be the flooding. we have flood watches, flood warnings and flash flood warnings in effect for over a dozen states. on the backside of this system, all the cold air from canada's coming down. so now we have a lot of snow. we have winter storm watches and warnings for south dakota, minnesota, wisconsin, and then farther south, we have blizzard watches and warnings for nebraska -- or kansas, oklahoma,
texas and also into new mexico. again, we're going to be dealing with two different rounds of separate rain and also snow with this. and take a look, by the time we get to monday, the system pushes up. chicago, st. louis, not two cities you want to be as you're starting off your workweek on monday. >> all righty. allison chinchar, thank you so much for the breakdown. new to cnn this morning, federal investigation under way right now in texas after the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms is called in to investigate a suspicious mosque fire there. now, this blaze broke out yesterday afternoon after friday prayers. and it took some 80 firefighters to get those flames under control. thankfully no one was injured. but members of the mosque congregation were rattled. >> a burned mosque, burned church or a burned synagogue or a burned temple, it's not good to see it like that. the mosque is doing a great job to educate the community, not to
hurt people, and to educate people to do the good and for beat the evil. >> investigators say it's the, quote, multiple points of entry for the fire that led them to call this blaze suspicious. joining us now to talk about this is jonathan gillian, a cnn law enforcement analyst and former fbi special agent as well as a former navy s.e.a.l. jonathan, the fire is suspicious because it has these multiple points of entry. the attendees of that mosque are hoping this is an accident, but just on the face of it, what are your thoughts on this? >> well, you know, the atf are the experts in this. and when they go in and look at this, you know, right now the point that they're at is they're starting to figure out that potentially this was not something like an electrical accident or something that was just simply structural that caused the fire because there's multiple areas where this fire appeared to have started.
so that's pointing more towards something that might have been nefarious, and that's what they're looking at right now. also, they're going to look at what caused the fire, you know, what type -- were there any fluids that were used? was there any type of entryways that were particular to how this fire started where a human being could actually come in there versus something that was embedded in a wall. they can actually trace the way that this fire spreads. and it sounds to me like they have enough suspicion where they can start to carry this investigation further from just something that was simply electrical accident. >> right. i mean, any time you have a place of worship that's set on fire, it raises alarms. but in this incident, you have, in the background of this, you have islamophobia. i mean, this is the second mosque fire in recent weeks. there was another one in california's coachella valley. do you think that this could be part of a backlash following the terror attack in san bernardino, and if so, how does that change
the investigation here on out? >> well, they're going to look at the fires and see if there's any similarities to these. but i think it's quite a stretch to say that something in california and something in texas are related. they could be, you know, two different individuals with the same motivation. but there are restaurants that burn down every day in the united states, and we don't, you know, say that somebody is going around particularly targeting restaurants. if we jump to that, we then allow that assumption to lead the investigation. it's very important that investigators let the actual details of these fires lead the investigation so they can get good intel and good evidence collection. we don't want theories to lead the investigation. you want evidence to lead it. >> right. you want the facts to lead things as they move ahead. jonathan gilliam, our cnn law enforcement analyst, thanks for joining us this morning. >> you got it. thank you.
following breaking news this hour. this rapidly growing wildfire in southern california. turning out to be so dangerous. take a look at what we're seeing. major roadways are shut down right now. there's a potential nightmare here for holiday travelers as well. we'll have a live report for you next. also coming up, did you wake up christmas morning missing a gift because it wasn't delivered on time? well, that is not unusual. you're not alone. we'll tell you what delayed fedex and how they tried to make up for it. next. came out today thousands of people to run the race for retirement. so we asked them... are you completely prepared for retirement? okay, mostly prepared? could you save 1% more of your income? it doesn't sound like much, but saving an additional 1% now, could make a big difference over time. i'm going to be even better about saving. you can do it, it helps in the long run.
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want to get back to the breaking news and show you the pictures we have coming in of the southern california wildfire that is out of control. it's burned an estimated 1,000 acres so far. and more than 500 firefighters responding just have not been able to get this thing under control. aron myers of cnn affiliate ktla is live for us in ventura, california. so aaron, how far are you, not far, i can see by the pictures, from what's happening there, and what is the situation like this hour? >> reporter: christi, you know, we are actually about an hour north of los angeles. and the fire is really difficult for firefighters right now to deal with because of winds and dry conditions because we are in a drought out here in this area. for you, if you want to take a look, we are on the 101 freeway,
and this fire has actually jumped the freeway. this is right along the coast here. and then if you follow me over this way, i'll show you this is on the other side of the 101 freeway, the hillside right there. it is now starting to die down. but that was completely engulfed just a short time ago. now, we know the fire, it started around 10:40 last night. and crews tell us when they got on scene, it had already burned about 100 acres in the beach area which is just north of ventura county. now, the fire is moving very quickly due to these dry conditions and winds as there is a wind advisory in place. so they're saying they can see gusts of about 50 miles an hour which could really move that fire along. another issue in this area are the oil fields in the hills here. so firefighters are having to deal with that as well. for you, as you said, about 500 firefighters are on scene. and currently the 101 freeway is closed in both directions from ventura to right before carpenteria, and there are mandatory evacuations in place here for residents in the
sulamar peabeach area. there are voluntary evacuations in place for nearby beach residents. now, fire officials are asking evacuees to head north of this area to carpenteria to a red cross shelter. the good news is so far there are no structures that have been lost and no injuries. but the fire is going to be very difficult for firefighters to battle. now, once again, about 1,100 acres. and they tell us that once the day starts, the sun starts to come up, they will have a better idea. they will be able to assess this fire a little more and be able to put a better plan of action. because right now it is moving very, very quickly. in ventura county, i'm erin myers. >> real quickly, have they given you any indication as to how they hope or how soon they may hope to have some sort of containment? and just update us here. last we heard, it was 0% contained.
>> reporter: yeah, right now same situation here. they say they really need the sun to come up so they can actually get a good look at these oil fields. and they will have a better idea then. and they tell us they are going to have a briefing at 10:00 a.m. pacific time. so hopefully we will have more information then. >> okay. we appreciate it so much, erin. thank you very much. and do stay safe there to you and the crew. because as you can see, they are right up on those flames. right near them. >> she's right next to it. and with the wind being as strong as it is, it can move those fires any direction any moment. we'll keep a close eye on that. more news straight ahead. the childhood home of former president bill clinton has been damaged by fire. what investigators suspect is behind the cause. also, a woman in indiana getting one special, and as you can see from this reaction, unexpected christmas gift. >> shake it out. >> oh, my goodness! this has gone viral online. we're going to tell you what the heck is going on. the flu virus hits big.
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here's what's making news right now. a fire at former president bill clinton's childhood home in hope, arkansas, is now being investigated as arson. police say the fire began in the back of the home early friday morning. flames, the home's walkway and door were vandalized with graffiti. you see some of it there.
the home is a national historic site. bill clinton lived there for the first four years of his life. a texas judge shot last month in austin is finally home from the hospital. julie casoric was shot and wounded in her driveway november 6th. the person of interest in the attack is still in jail on an unrelated murder charge. police believe she was targeted, but again, the news is she is finally back home. the syrian rebel group jaysh al islam has confirmed their leader's death. syrian state media says this video shows the airstrike that killed zahran allouch outside damascus thursday. the government considers him a terrorist, but his rebel group has no ties to al qaeda or isis. some people woke up furious because their packages were developed. the main reason, their hub is in memphis, and they were pounded with severe weather. fedex says some of its employees volunteered to work contrashifts
on christmas just to help get those packages to customers. apparently irate customers took to social media to complain, calling fedex the christmas grinch. it was the weather! what do you do? >> christmas elves helping them out. >> that's right. come on, they're trying! we've had heavy stories this morning but we've got to see this. it is the moment that an indiana woman learns she's a grandmother. and you're about to see her reaction in realtime. take a look. >> huh? oh, my god! oh, my god! i've been dreaming that it was a girl! >> and there you have it. >> i love it. i had a dream it was a girl! >> grandma. she gets her wish, apparently. she had no idea that her son and daughter-in-law were visiting for the holidays. that was the first surprise. what made it more special was
that moment there. they brought their newly adopted baby girl. and as you see, grandma is overjoyed. and as she said, she was wishing for a baby girl. >> and you know what? she makes us all smile. i mean, that is infectious. that congratulations to that family. that is just awesome. >> she can't speak, she's so happy. >> oh. you know, still to come, we have to talk about this fierce battle that's under way in iraq to retake the city of ramadi from isis terrorists. door-to-door combat is under way. but there are boobc tr bchlboob are set by isis soldiers that are slowing down iraqi soldiers.
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christmas morning to this. that one particular family, this is what they saw. their home of ten years ruined, completely flooded with at least two feet of water inside. a lot of southern states have been drenched over the last 24 hours. some spots getting ten or more mp inches of rain, and more could be on the way today. we're going to keep you updated throughout the morning on that. also, take a look at what's happening right now in southern california. a wildfire forcing two major roadways to close. we're talking about the 101 troy and the pch, the pacific coast highway. also mandatory evacuations are out in this area. ventura county fire officials say the 101 freeway and the pch near the city of ventura, they've been shut down. firefighters there are working hard to battle an uncontained 1,000-acre fire north of the city. all of this popping up overnight. the fire is growing rapidly. the beach community is now under a mandatory evacuation and another beach community is under
a voluntary evacuation. we'll bring you a live report on that story at the top of the hour. now, this morning we have new video of the fierce battle to retake ramadi from isis fighters. and the constant bombing that's left the city in ruins. iraqi officials say progress is slow as isis has left behind booby traps and ieds improvised explosive devices, but they predict iraqi troops are very close to retaking the city completely. >> the enemy began to fall apart. the city is being surrounded by 360 degrees. we are only about one kilometers from the government compound. >> cnn correspondent robyn kriel brings us the latest information on this. robyn? >> reporter: this push to reclaim ramadi city's center began in earnest on tuesday. iraqi security forces now claim to be within blocks of the main government compound that is isis's stronghold. defense officials claim they control about three-quarters of
the city and that they have isis surrounded. there are around 300 to 500 isis fighters remaining inside the city. iraqi officials say they're mostly foreign fighters. the extremist militants have rigged up thousands of improvised explosive devices in cars, in the ground and in homes to counter the iraqi government sources' assault. civilians who were not able to flee the city ahead of the operation are being asked to wave white flags. the iraqi government says they will be granted safe passage. the recapture of ramadi would be both a strategic victory for the iraqi forces and a morale boost for the troops. strategic because of its location on the baghdad highway and its proximity to the capital baghdad. and a boost for iraqi troops who were humiliated by the ease of which ramadi fell to the terror group back in may. robyn kriel, cnn, london. >> thanks. i want to bring in michael
weiss, cnn contributor and co-author of "isis: inside the army of terror." michael, thank you so much for being with us. how critical do you think is a win in ramadi? as he said, they're a mile from the isis-held government compound, if they can take that compound, do they then, do you believe, take ramadi? >> no. it's going to be a much more uphill battle than that, unfortunately. isis is now in a kind of scorched earth withdrawal. the fact that they've got 300, maybe 500 militants means they've all but given up the city. what they're looking to do now is inflict as much harm and damage both on the civilian population and on the incoming pro-iraqi government forces. they have a special kind of house-born ied that they manufacture whereby they put sort of trip wires all over the floor. and anybody who steps on it sets off a chain reaction of explosions that can topple an entire house upon your head. they're looking to do this. they've turned the city into, i
think reuters call it had a geographical coffin. now, look. if baghdad does retake ramadi, i think it is a tremendous psychological boon to iraq and to the coalition, which has been making some progress, but according to ihs defense, an intelligence company, really the coalition has only managed to recapture 14% of isis-held territory in the last year and a half, i guess, since whenever the war got under way. also, it's important to remember, ramadi only fell to isis in the summer. you know, in june of 2014 when this whole thing got started during that blitzkrieg into mosul, that wasn't one of the provincial capitals they had in their possession. in a sense, it's almost two steps forward, one step back for the coalition. yeah, i mean -- >> go ahead. >> it is an important victory. >> yeah, if it happens. >> yeah. >> we know that -- you mentioned some of the territory they've taken back. we know they took back tikrit earlier this year.
if they get ramadi as well, and they've said that after this they're moving on to mosul, how confident are you that iraqi forces can control and keep control of the territory that they're regaining and continue to move forward? >> well, this is the difficulty. you know, ramadi is, in a sense, the strategic heartland or the strategic city of sunni arab tribes in iraq, which is essentially the bellwether constituency of isis. as goes the tribe, so goes isis. the difficulty that i see and what worries me, and this goes back to the u.s. occupation in the mid-2000s, you're seeing a lot of reports centrally from centc centcom, look, they burnt down sunni homes in places like tikrit, they're staying out of this fight. you know, they're nowhere near central ramadi. it's almost a bit of a fudge, though, because a lot of the government forces, the isf, iraqi security forces, 5th
brigade, the federal police, which is controlled by the interior ministry which belongs to the badr corps, they have infiltrated these institutions. you know, i mean, back in the day, you could sort of walk the streets as an interior ministry police officer in iraq. and at night moonlight as a badr corps commander. sunnis would be picked up at checkpoints, taken out of their cars, and spirited away to some dungeon where they'd have power drills. you know, jammed into their skulls. the tinge that worhing that wor most is if this does evolve into sectarian bloodletting or they go on revenge killings and essentially conducting against the sunnis who inhabit ramadi, seeing them as collaborators with isis, then that will only open the door for isis's return. the sunnis, believe it or not, sometimes look at isis as the safer bet than the so-called liberators which are mostly majority shia military assets
along baghdad. >> wow. hard to imagine. michael weiss, thanks for the explainer. we appreciate it very much. >> sure. still to come this hour on "cnn newsroom," political jabs paid for by big-money donors. we're going to show you a new ted cruz super pac ads that takes a swipe at rival marco rubio. of a better network. get up to 50% off our hottest android smartphones, like the samsung galaxy s6. only till december 27th.
so the iowa caucuses are just about a month away. and political ads are in full swing, attacking some candidates and supporting others. many paid for by big-money donors to political action committees, these pacs that we've been talking about. well, chris frates joins me with a look at them. good morning, chris. where are people throwing their cash these days? >> good morning, errol. it's rare for big donors to speak about their relationships
and what this money actually brings them, but we recently talked to a top gop money man who's given millions to politicians and to the presidential candidate who's benefited. >> hi, i'm foster freese. >> reporter: he's supporting his friend, rick santorum. in 2012, he threw santorum a life line when he give the super pac supporting him more than $2 million. >> i think he's a champion of the little guy. he's very presidential. >> reporter: in his heyday, he was making $10 million a month. friess won't say how much he'll give this campaign season but explained why he donates. >> i get a sense of satisfaction that i'm continuing the process that created my success. >> reporter: friess prefers to give the super pacs which can take as much cash as he's willing to give instead of giving directly to campaign where the limit is $5,400. >> when the super pac came along, i realized that i could just write a check. it's a lot more effortless, and
that seemed to work. >> reporter: santorum doesn't believe that friess is trying to buy influence. >> if he was in it for access, he wouldn't be supporting one guy four years ago at 1% in the polls and four years later. >> reporter: gop fund-raiser henry barber say passionate donors like friess are outgunned. >> there are a lot more people giving because they believe in something. they far outnumber the people who give for access. yet the people who give for access give much larger dollars. >> reporter: according to a nonpartisan watchdog, so far this election cycle, super pacs have raised $315 million and spent almost $100 million. much of it on ads. but those ads still leave republican candidates far behind the front-runner who hasn't spent a dime on television advertising. >> super pacs are a disaster. they're a scam. they cause dishonesty, and you'd
better get rid of them because they are causing a lot of bad decisions to be made by some very good people, and i'm not blaming these folks, but i guess i could. >> reporter: some experts say big check writers are driven by a mix of business and ego. >> they're giving to people they think will support what they want, and they're giving to people that they know will answer their phone calls if they win and they know will give them access and listen carefully to what they want on a public agenda. >> so those gop presidential political ads you see on tv, more than 80% of them so far have been paid for by super pacs. that's according to a recent report from a nonprofit watchdog group. but how successful those ads are is still a really open question. the report says jeb bush and the super pac backing his campaign has spent almost $26 million airing 15,000 ads, yet bush is still polling in the single digits. though with the first contest just over a month away, now is the time that money could be a real game changer for many of these candidates, errol.
>> yeah, and it makes you wonder, what is ma money buying exactly with jeb bush still in single digits. chris frates in d.c., thanks very much. >> thank you. i don't know if you're aware, but madonna is in the middle of an international custody battle for her son. >> that's right. mum wants him home in new york. dad wants had him to stay in london. while the 15-year-old, well, he has his own opinions. coming up next, we'll bring you details on how and when this custody fight will be decided. and we shared with you that video that went viral of a grandma finding out that she was a grandma in that moment. she's on the phone with us! we're going to talk to her in just a minute! this holiday season, get ready for homecomings. i see you brought a friend? i wanna see, i wanna see. longing. serendipity. what are the... chances. and good tidings to all.
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oh, my god! i've been dreaming that it was a girl! >> a grandmother's dream come true. that's eva gobe who had no idea that her son and daughter-in-law were visiting for the holidays. and you see in her arms what made it even more special. they brought their newly adopted baby girl with them. we have been enjoying this all morning. and now eva joins us on the phone from franklin, indiana. eva, first of all, thank you for the tears and the joy because we've been enjoying watching that just today. but tell us what that moment was like for you and why it was so significant. such a big deal. >> the significance of it was that we didn't know anything about it. we knew that donny and miranda had longed to adopt for quite some time.
we knew she had begun the process, but they just did not -- they wanted to spare us from any heartache because adoptions, things can go wrong. and so they wanted to spare us from any possible heartbreak or heartache. and so i came around the corner. i saw my son. i knew -- my husband had told me that the kids were there. so i came around the corner, expecting to see my son. i looked at my son, i looked at my daughter-in-law and saw her holding this beautiful child in her arms. and my heart just burst. i was so excited. >> one of the things that stands out to me when i watch this is when you say i had a dream it was a girl! >> yes. i knew -- >> what did she say? how did she react to that? >> oh, they -- she just smiled. we were all crying tears of joy. they -- my mom instincts are
pretty strong, so they didn't question. >> okay. so, but you really did -- when did you have that dream? >> i had a couple of dreams, actually, that the kids were going to have a daughter. i just had that feeling. and i had dreamed twice, oh, probably -- i can't remember specific dates, but i had a couple of dreams that they had brought home a girl. z >> that is incredible. we understand her name is lilly faith. what's on the agenda for the weekend and the new year? >> getting to know her and love on her a whole lot. and she does have two older boy cousins, so they've been able to enjoy her as well. try to get a family photo before the kids have to head home. >> and last but not least, how does it feel being on national
television that's been all over the internet? because this went viral, as we understand. i mean, when you look back at it, what do you think? >> i can't believe it. the kids -- because my son is military, they have kids -- or friends all over the world. and every time they would -- and they recorded everybody's reaction to the news. mine's the only one that was so emotional. >> aww. well, eva goeb, we appreciate you being with us. congratulations to your entire family. we're so happy for you. and thank you for sharing that moment with us. >> thank you. >> we have been very blessed. >> absolutely. merry christmas to you and take good care. >> merry christmas to you too. >> the baby girl has certainly blessed a family like that full of love. >> very good point. >> do stay with us. we'll be right back.
tand that's what we're doings to chat xfinity.rself, we are challenging ourselves to improve every aspect of your experience. and this includes our commitment to being on time. every time. that's why if we're ever late for an appointment, we'll credit your account $20. it's our promise to you. we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around. >> president obama took a break from his family vacation in
hawaii. he took a break to thank the troops and promised the men and women in uniform that their service is never take foreign granted. listen. >> as we know, when you are deployed overseas, it is tough. even though we've been able to reduce the number of folks who are deployed in places like iraq and afghanistan, there are still folks over there every single day and it is still dangerous as we saw this past week. we had some outstanding brave men and women who were killed. we never take for granted what all of you do for the american people. you help keep us free. you help keep us strong. whatever service you are in. whatever branch, we are extraordinarily grateful for everything you do every single
day. >> you may remember earlier this week, six americans were killed in a suicide bomb attack at the bagram base in afghanistan. the president called them all outstanding and brave. >> for more on this, i want to bring in foreign former obama campaign foreign policy adviser and former state official, david tafori. as the president looks to the new year avoiding what is typical of all presidents in their last year, a lame duck presidency, what do you think will be his top issue? >> it is very different from when he took office seven years ago. at that time, his biggest challenge was the financial crisis and getting the economy going. with the economy doing much better, clearly, his biggest challenge is in the foreign policy area. whether they are correct or not, public thinks the bigist problem is isis. we have to find isis in iraq and syria and the places where it
has gained a new foothold like in afghanistan and in libya. now, what's particularly challenging for the president, he has far less troops in theater right now. in afghanistan, he has only 9,800 troops and in iraq, 3,000, 4,000 special forces in an advisory role. he has to make progress against isis with far less troops on the ground. it will take building a coalition and most challengely, building a soon any force that has legitimacy in syria and iraq that can do the fighting and hold the areas that isis has right now once they have purned out. it is a big challenge for the president in the coming year. >> it is a big challenge. as you mentioned, messaging is part of what makes it so difficult. the fighting isn't a zero game. you have seen the u.s. president take more of an effort to show and detail the strategy and efforts to take on isis.
on that point, you have a packed republican field led by donald trump all pushing to get obama out of office and to take the country in a new direction. which of those republican candidates in your view is sticking out as a real threat that could actually win the general election. >> that's a very good point. the republican candidates are not very strong on foreign policy. very much like president obama, whose foreign policy experience before he became president meant participating in the foreign relations committee. most of the candidates do not have foreign policy experience, senators, former governors and in the case of trump, a businessman. they are strained to come up with strong ideas on foreign policy, specially with respect to isis. you don't hear many details on a plan to really defeat isis. i think it is a big challenge. one of the candidates who has
spoken most effectively about isis and the candidates in syria and iraq is senator rubio. i has been more of the interventionist side. he has some good ideas. dr. ben carson in the last debate had a few good ideas. bush also has some ideas about how to stop isis. he talked about putting a no-fly zone in syria which would create some room to build up a sunni constituency to defeat isis. there are some good ideas but not some detailed plans. >> in the last few seconds on the democratic side, you have hillary clinton touting her experience as secretary of state but might that do more to hurt her since the u.s. is in some negative spots internationally. >> that's a challenge for her. >> she has to show she is going to differentiate herself from the current policy of president obama. that's a challenge, because she
worked in the obama administration. she has to come up with ideas that make sense and would be effective and are disstitinct f what the president is doing. >> great to get your insight -- joining us -- that is -- excuse me, david tafori. >> thank you. >> we have so much more to talk about this morning. the next hour of "cnn newsroom" starts now. let's talk about these two major developing stories and what you are looking at here. rapidly growing brush fire in californ california forcing man da torre evacuations and road closures. >> we're tracking severe weather in the southeast. tornados and heavy rain stores affecting millions.
another storm system right thind forecasting more rain. you are in the "cnn newsroom." good morning. happy saturday. >> i'm christi paul. i'm. >> errol barnett in for victor blackwell this morning. it is 10:00 on the east side, 7:00 on the west. >> good to be by your side. >> good to have you here. thanks for getting up on a holiday weekend. >> any time. >> talk about this breaking news. look at the pictures we are getting in of this wild fire out of control still at this hour. mandatory evacuations and highway closures are part of what's happening at this moment. >> major thoroughfares, the fire has burned an estimated 1,000 acres just overnight. they have been forced to close part of two major highways, the pacific cote highway and the 101 near ventura. >> look at the video coming in from overnight. more than