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CNN NEWSROOM

6.5 Quake Strikes California Coast; Senate Leader Harry Reid Apologizes; Snowmobiles Crash Through Ice

Aired January 9, 2010 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Randi Kaye, breaking news in northern California tonight. A strong quake measuring 6.5. No serious injuries or damage had been reported, but plenty of jangled nerves. It was centered about 20 miles off the coast. The U.S. Geological Survey says there is no threat of a tsunami.

The coastal cities of Ferndale and Eureka felt it the most. Residents say it was a rolling event that knocked down pictures and caused some cracks in their walls. Local emergency officials say most of the damage appears to be downed power lines and some broken gas pipes and some windows broken as well. Smaller aftershocks have also been detected.

Gary Byrd is the public information officer of the Eureka Fire Department. They've been handling all of this emergency calls.

A very busy night for you, Gary -- I would imagine, as you join us by phone now.

GARY BYRD, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, EUREKA FIRE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Yes, Hi. How are you doing, Randi?

KAYE: Good. How are you doing there?

BYRD: We're doing fine. I think we've come through this quite well. But like you mentioned, we do have some frayed nerves, but the damage seems to have been limited to broken windows, and downed power lines, and isolated waterline breaks, and just minor injuries at this point. But we are bracing for aftershocks. We've had a number of them so far. And we have experienced very significant aftershocks for previous earthquakes, so we're cautiously optimistic at this point.

KAYE: I'm sure. I'm sure also, though, that a lot of our viewers who might have relatives in California, who maybe can't reach them because of this earthquake may be worried about them. So no serious injuries you're saying for sure, as far as you know?

BYRD: That's correct. But we do have -- and life safety is our number one priority at this point. But we do have quite a few fire police and public works crews out assessing damage at this time. So far, no reports of any serious injuries to pass on.

KAYE: Have you had to evacuate any areas or what are you advising residents? BYRD: I believe we're advising residents to stay in their homes. You know, to try to stay off the roads, because traffic signals, a lot of those are down, and there is a lot of congestion on the roads at this point.

KAYE: And also, a lot of power lines down as well, which I'm sure you're concerned about if residents are out and about?

BYRD: That's correct, but just sporadic reports of power lines down.

KAYE: And when we describe, this from residents at least, they say a rolling event. Can you tell us a little bit more about what that means there in California?

BYRD: I'm sorry. I didn't quite hear everything you said there. Somehow you got cut off.

KAYE: Residents we spoke with described this is more of a rolling event, a rolling earthquake. Can you help us a little bit, explain what that means?

BYRD: Well, a rolling earthquake is -- and I'm not really an expert on this, but I believe that's indicative of a quake that is somewhat far away. But this earthquake was not too far away, and I don't believe -- I believe it was somewhat shallow. But it was a violent shake when it occurred, and it lasted for a minute, perhaps. And then after that, it somewhat rolled through. But it was a violent shake before the rolling.

KAYE: Well, I'm sure, Gary, you have a busy night there at the firehouse, at the fire department. So Gary Byrd joining us with some details.

Thank you very much.

BYRD: Thanks for checking in.

KAYE: And Dave Magni, he runs a small hotel in Ferndale, California. He is joining us now by phone.

Dave, can you tell us what tonight has been like for you there.

DAVE MAGNI, HOTEL OWNER (via telephone): Oh, just a lot of cleanup and quite a mess.

KAYE: Tell me a little bit about some of the damage at the hotel. You're the owner of the Ivanhoe Hotel?

MAGNI: Yes, we're primarily a restaurant dinner house with a full bar, and a very small historic inn. Most of our damage was at the bar, the back bar, bottles, glasses, plates. It depends what room you're in, and how much damage was done. Just a lot of breakage.

KAYE: Tell me about the situation at the bar. Was the bar crowded at the time? MAGNI: Well, it was about 4:30, so -- we're a night dinner house, so we were just getting opened, so we just had three people at the bar. They didn't waste too much time getting outside. Our bartender fled the scene and had a broken window come down on them on his way out, but he wasn't hurt.

KAYE: I think you described to one of our producers who you spoke with earlier by phone saying, quote, "We are sitting in a sea of booze?" Is that true? Is that mean all your liquor bottles had fallen off the bar?

MAGNI: Yes. You know, the whole back bar came down, and, yes, it's all cleaned up now. It's just some little aftermath of smell.

KAYE: And how about your guests? Did they run out of the place? Or are they still with you?

MAGNI: One checked out. They were here for a local funeral. They don't live too far away. They checked out, so we don't have to worry about them.

Another set of guests just checked back in, and everyone was just kind of sitting and feeling the aftermath. Letting the heart rates slow down.

KAYE: I'm sure. All right, Dave. We're going to let you get back to mopping up that sea of booze in your bar.

Dave Magni from Ferndale, California with us tonight. Thanks, Dave.

And Jackie Jeras, of course, is in the weather center. She has some more information about this quake and what it all means. Jacqui?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Well, this is a pretty strong quake. In fact, it's considered, what you would call strong as opposed to a major quake. And had this actually happened on the coast or inland, we would have seen a fair amount of damage across this area. 6.5 in magnitude, as we mentioned, and this was offshore.

Sometimes when you have offshore earthquakes, you can get tsunamis. But no tsunami resulted. And there were no tsunami watches or warnings. At least 5 aftershocks have occurred here, all of which were pretty minor. 4.5 was the strongest one that we had in there. There haven't been any reports that anybody actually felt this.

There you can see the town of Ferndale where some of those power outages had happened. 6.5, you know, we get earthquakes of this intensity. Maybe about 120 of them across the world in a calendar year. So they are not very common. And we've had plenty of six plus earthquakes in California. And really a big reminder that that big one could really occur any time.

In fact, many experts in the U.S. say we're kind of overdo, actually, forgetting one of these. So what do you do in an earthquake? When this happens? Well, if you're indoors already, of course, you need to just get down and cover up, and try and get underneath something which is safe.

You know, right now we think the worst of the threat has passed, and the aftershock should be small enough that we think you don't have to worry about it too much anymore tonight.

Of course, we'll continue to be on top of this, and let you know if we get any more powerful things happening within this area.

Randi?

KAYE: All right, Jacqui, thank you for following up on that for us.

And one of the most powerful men in the nation's capital has a lot of explaining to do. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is apologizing to the president and everyone in America. We'll tell you why.

And a winter tragedy in Vermont when snowmobiles crashed through a frozen lake.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: He is one of the most powerful men in Washington. And just weeks ago, he successfully navigated President Obama's signature legislation through the Senate. But Majority Leader Harry Reid spent his Saturday apologizing to the president and all Americans for comments he made about Mr. Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.

We're learning more about the quote, which appear in a new book on the 2008 campaign called "Game Change." Reid is quoted as saying, "Then Senator Obama had a good chance of winning the White House because he was, quote, "light-skinned," and his speech had what Reid described as, "no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one."

The damage control operation in high gear now. In today's statement, Reid says, quote, "I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comment."

I'm joined on the phone by our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash.

And, Dana, the senator has had a day of apologies. Who, really, is he trying to make nice with tonight?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who isn't he trying to make nice with tonight? I think that's the question. You said this is damage control. Boy, I have not seen a damage control strategy, what we saw today in a very long time. And they're very unabashed about what they're doing inside the recamp, Randi.

Not only did Senator Reid obviously called the president, as you mentioned, and make it very public that the president quickly accepted his apology. He has been on the phone virtually all day with civil rights leaders that we have all heard about -- Reverend Al Sharpton, he has called; Julian Bond; Representative Clyburn of South California, who is the highest ranking African-American Democrat in Congress. Representative Barbara Lee, Wade Henderson and Donna Brazil even. She's one of our contributors. She'll be on "STATE OF THE UNION" tomorrow. Perhaps we'll get the inside scoop on these calls.

But not only is he making calls. I just got an e-mail from somebody showing me that a local politician in Nevada, a prominent African-American Steve Forsberg who is actually the Senate Majority leader in Nevada also is saying that he understands this is not great, this is not the right choice of words for Reid, but he accepts his apology. And the reason why he says he accepts Senator Reid's apology, and many of these African-American leaders are saying the same is because they say that he does have a good record when it comes to civil rights. Historically, despite what everybody agrees is a very bad choice of words, and a very bad situation for Senator Reid politically.

KAYE: So how much trouble would you say Harry Reid is in as a leader in the Senate? How much hot water does this put him in, really, with fellow senators and fellow Democrats?

BASH: Well, judging by the immediate reaction, which is, you know, you sometimes -- it's very difficult to deal with these political potatoes. It looks like for now, in terms of his position as the top Democrat in the Senate, it looks like he's OK. The biggest problem for Senator Reid, Randi, is his own viability as a senator. He's already in a very, very, very tough battle this election year, in 2010, to keep his seat. And just today, a new poll in his home state of Nevada came out showing he is -- just pretty much not well-liked, his favorability ratings, meaning how much people like him are very low.

Unfavorability, 52 percent. That's the highest in about a year. And the problem for him back home is that people know him very well. They know him, and the majority don't like him. And he trails three potential Republican candidates. So the biggest problem for him is that he's already been fighting for his political life to win his seat again in the Senate, and this is just another -- in the words of one of his supporters, I just got an e-mail to one of his supporters, just another straw to break the camel's back.

KAYE: All right, Dana, stay with us, we may come back to you in a moment here. But President Obama was quick to respond to Senator Reid's apology. We want you to know. The White House issued this statement on the president's behalf.

"Harry Reid called me today, and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today." This is quoting here. "I accepted Harry's apology without question, because I've known him for years. I've seen the passionate leadership he's shown on issues of social justice, and I know what's in his heart. As far as I am concerned, the book is closed."

That statement coming directly from the president. Our senior White House correspondent Ed Henry joins me now by phone from New York.

Ed, this statement coming from the president himself. Does this elevate the story in your mind?

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Oh, Randi, it does. And it's rare for the president to jump into the fray on almost any issue that quickly. I mean, he put out this statement within a few hours of this controversy coming up. And look no further than what happened two week ago, when we were in Hawaii with the president. And there was this terror incident, and the president didn't speak on it for a few days. And White House states said that the time we're saying, look, the president doesn't need to jump out there on every single issue. He's perfectly content to have his aides go out there, top officials like the Homeland Security secretary. And in this case, he could have done the same. He could have had Robert Gibbs or another senior aide go out there and say the apology is accepted.

But I think when you had talk to senior Democrats today, what they say the reasoning is, is that the White House was working very closely with Senator Reid's office to try to quell this controversy quickly. And as one top Democrat told me, look, you know, when Trent Lott was in a similar situation back in 2002, he kind of let this play out too long, and he didn't quell it, he didn't cut it off. And they thought by getting the president involved so quickly -- obviously, he is the first African-American saying, look, "I don't take any offense, and I know what's in Harry Reid's heart," they think they can end it.

And part of the reason they want to move quickly as well, you know, as Dana was laying out. I mean, Harry Reid is sort of the MVP for Barack Obama right now in terms of trying to push health care through. They need him there. And then when you look at the Senate picture, the re-election that Dana was talking about and how much trouble Harry Reid already is in, you add that to, you know, Chris Dodd this week saying he's going to retire. And Byron Dorgan, another Democrat. You know, Democrats barely have a 60-seat majority right now, and are barely getting health care and other things through. If, you know, someone like Harry Reid loses re-election at the end of this year, obviously kissed the 60-seat majority good-bye, in getting the presidential agenda through in the days ahead, it's going to be that much harder.

BASH: How would you say this is going to affect that? I mean, how tough of a job now does he have in his ability to push the Obama agenda.

Well, I think, obviously, people close to Senator Reid and people at the White House are hoping that this will be over after, you know, few days of back and forth.

And, you know, I think you saw on the statement from Reverend al Sharpton jumping into the fray as well. He was basically saying that Democrats hope this does not become a distraction from the health care battle, that you've got to focus on health care and the economy, issues that really matter to American. I think the fact that al Sharpton even invoke shows there's real nervousness among senior Democrats right now about the fact that any sort of distraction, at this moment, just as they're trying to push health care through this final state, on the eve of "THE STATE OF THE UNION" from the president in the next couple of weeks shows that they are very concern right now. And there's no doubt about that.

KAYE: All right. Our Ed Henry and Dana Bash, thank you both so much for your time.

For most people, this boils down to one of two things: racism or just a poor choice of words.

Syracuse University Professor Boyce Watkins is a social commentator and advocate for education and economic empowerment.

Professor, you have some very strong opinions about Senator Reid's comments. Let's begin with the fact that you say you see racism in the senator's words.

BOYCE WATKINS, FOUNDER, YOURBLACKWORLD.COM: I see racism in his words, but I don't see racism in Harry Reid. We have to realize that he's a representative. He's a bell weather of public opinion. He wasn't saying that I wouldn't support Barack Obama if he were dark- skinned. He was saying America would not support Barack Obama if he were dark-skinned. I don't think Harry Reid should be the focal point of this.

As what's mentioned earlier, he's got more important things to do. He needs to go out and fight for health care, so does the president. I think this issue needs to be taken off the president's desk. And near the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, maybe this is an opportunity for us to have a conversation, nationally, about race. And to really talk about why is it the case that there are millions of rank and file African-Americans out here every day, who know that lighter-skinned and not having Negro dialect, whatever that means, it does affect your ability to get jobs, it affects how people perceive you, and so --

KAYE: So are you saying that lighter-skinned African-Americans do -- they are treated differently?

WATKINS: Well, that's been true since slavery. Anybody who understands anything about black history knows that lighter skin is always an asset. Basically, it comes down to your degree of whiteness or not being too black.

You noticed the president was very careful all throughout the election not be perceived as being too black. And so, Harry Reid's statement, which does not in my opinion reflects what's in his heart, it reflects what's in America's heart. It reflects that we still live in a society where being too black or speaking too black, it will take away certain opportunities.

And we have to realize that when we judge people on such superficial characteristics, we're missing the opportunity to make America the country that is capable of being, because we're overlooking people because of how they communicate.

KAYE: When you heard that he use the words -- Senator Reid used the words "Negro dialect," and I'm quoting there, how did that sit with you?

WATKINS: Well, it was a little bit odd. Remember, Harry Reid is not a young man. You know, what's interesting is that I have a lot of respect for Harry Reid. I read his life story. And this guy, he represents the American dream. He represents what a lot of -- I speak to millions of black males across the country, and he represents what we go through in terms of fighting to get what we deserve. And I think Harry Reid is a great man. I have a lot of respect for him.

What I will say is that his comment obviously is not appropriate, but it certainly accurate. We know that. Speaking a certain way, would have kept President Obama from being elected, and so we have to ask ourselves, are we really judging this person by the content of his character and his capabilities set, or are we judging him on superficial trades such as what he looks like? Because we know what Harry Reid said is true, now as a country, what are we going to do with that information. Well, Black History Month is coming up. So maybe it's a good opportunity to really explore that.

KAYE: The president has released a statement tonight saying that he wants to close the book on this. Do you think the president should do more? Should there be another national conversation on race?

WATKINS: Yes, I think we need to have that conversation. Whether the president wants to do it or not, we have to understand, the president probably doesn't want to have that conversation, he can't have that conversation. But Dr. King would have that conversation.

And so -- but remember, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama are not the same sort of leader. I think that it's up to us as the American people, I think it's up to black leadership, it's up to leadership in other community to really come together and have an honest shard core dialogue to get these ugly issues out on the table so we can really address them. Because if we sweep it under the rug, it's going to continue to plague us like a festering disease that it already is.

KAYE: Dr. Boyce Watkins, good to speak with you tonight. Thank you.

WATKINS: Thank you.

KAYE: Did the Senate majority leader stomp on his re-election chances by putting his foot in his mouth? Hear what the GOP challengers for his seat have to say about Harry Reid's choice of words.

Then no day at the beach in Florida. Is that now we're looking at? How people in the sunshine state are working hard just to stay warm.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: A winter weather nightmare in suburban Atlanta when thin ice gives way beneath some teen boys. Two of the teens are dead. A third hospitalized right now after falling into partially-frozen pond this afternoon. The boys between the ages of 13 and 15 were reportedly playing on the ice when suddenly they plunged into the water. Firefighters say one boy got out quickly, but he stayed on the ice trying to save his friends.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAPT. TOMMY RUTLEDGE, GWINNETT CO. FIRE DEPARTMENT: As when we arrived on the scene, we did in fact have the one teenager who was out on the ice, but was trying to reach the other two who were still under the ice, in the water. Firefighters were able to get him to come over to the bank, and give an exact location of where he believed they have gone in at. (INAUDIBLE) team to pull them out of the water, and they were successful in locating the boys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: But by the time rescue crews found the two boys, they had been trapped for nearly an hour unconscious and unresponsive. They were rushed to a hospital, but they later died. The third boy is hospitalized in fair condition.

In Vermont, three snowmobiles crashed through thin ice killing three people: a man, his 24-year-old daughter and his 3-year-old granddaughter. The snowmobiles were carrying a total of six people on Lake Dunmore when the ice gave way just before noon. They were about 100 yards from shore when it happened. Everyone went into the water, except for a 4-year-old child who was pushed to safety. He reportedly ran for help. Two of the five people pulled out from the frigid lake survived.

Jacqui Jeras is watching the weather for us in the weather center. Jacqui, you and I, having lived in Minnesota for quite some time. We're, unfortunately, very used to seeing these stories, where the lakes are frozen and people think it's frozen enough, but bottom line, it is just not safe.

JERAS: Yes. There's never a guarantee that the ice is going to be thick enough. And even if it's thick enough that it's going to be stable enough. There are some guidelines speaking of Minnesota. From the Minnesota D&R. This is on their Web site, just to give you an idea. The general rules are in order to be able to stand or walk on ice, you need about four inches thick, and it should be clear thick ice. You should almost be able to see through it.

For a snowmobile there, you can see about five inches or so. For a car, 8 to 12 inches, and that's a small car. And then for a medium- sized truck, more than a foot of ice is needed, an SUV. You're going to need a little bit more than that. One of the other seasons is that thin and crispy way too risky; clear and blue, you're going to be OK going through. So something to think about. And I can't imagine ice in Georgia, by the way, ever being thick enough to hold somebody. And, you know, we start having fun in these conditions. It gets exciting in the south when you've got sleet and snow and ice. But you still have to be careful, because it can be very, very dangerous, more than 10 fatalities at least across the nation being reported due to cold conditions.

All right, check out what we're doing here across parts of the south. The windchill, the temperatures dropping below the freezing mark. We still have some moisture across southern parts of Florida right now. And we've been seeing a little bit of sleet in the Kendall area, suburb of Miami.

We're going to expect this moisture to pull on out. We're concerned about icy conditions. And we could be seeing some records in south Florida. These people don't have the proper means to dress properly or drive safely, really, in these conditions. Stay home if you can. Check on your neighbors. There you can see some of the sleet in the Orlando area. The good news is that we're expecting temperatures to moderate here in the Midwest tomorrow. The southeast will start to warm up early next week. But, Randi, the southeast really won't see temperatures be near normal or above normal until mid to late next week.

KAYE: Oh, boy. Still you got some time left to freeze.

JERAS: Yes.

KAYE: All right, Jacqui, thanks.

JERAS: Sure.

KAYE: Snow in Florida. Well, it seems no place is safe from this brutal cold spell that has teeth chattering nationwide. But in a state known for its sunshine, freezing temperatures have people scrambling to stay safe and warm.

Martin Savidge shows us how Floridians are coping.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In South Florida, the arctic blast fell as a raw rain, forcing a new kind of beach attire. In Orlando, runners in this half marathon, ran partly for sport and partly just to stay warm.

JUSTIN MIKHALEVSKY, MARATHONER: It makes you earn it a little more. It makes you feel prouder about finishing. So, I mean, it's nothing you can really do.

SAVIDGE: In Hollywood, Florida, the entire Borden Family, including little Roxy shivered waiting for the repairman. Their furnace went out a long time ago, but that didn't matter until this week. JOEL BORDEN, FLORIDA RESIDENT: I tried it two years ago when we had a real cold day. I tried it, and it just kept blowing cold air. It never stopped.

SAVIDGE: Fortunately, the repairman showed up minutes later. For Rafael Lamboi, it's been days of long hours and frantic phone calls from homeowners.

(on camera): How do they react when you drive in?

RAFAEL LAMBOI, UNIVERSAL AIR AND HEAT: Very happy to see me. They are very happy when I leave because they got heat.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Space heaters have been flying off the shelves, and that will put a further strain on the state's electric grid, which set a new winter record only Tuesday that's likely to be broken tonight. But while some businesses benefit, others are threatened. It will be another nervous night for the state's huge citrus industry, which so far has been spared the worst. Other growers rushed to protect their plants, even their tropical fish housed in outdoor pools.

When usually we talk to Chuck Lanza, it's about hurricanes, now he worries Broward County may be totally unprepared for a different kind of weather threat. Ice.

CHUCK LANZA, BROWARD COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE EMS: We don't have the ability to de-ice and do any of that stuff. We have some real problems here. If we had any type of heavy ice or even if we had the unfortunate circumstance of having snow.

SAVIDGE: So even sleeter or a freezing rain could be an emergency situation?

LANZA: Certainly could be significant. Way down the wires. We could lose a lot of our power and our ability to communicate with 911. It will be a difficult situation for us for at least several days.

SAVIDGE: Meanwhile, in Dave County, Barbara and Richard Sanchez have their own way of coping with the cold, just throw another log on the fire. Something Henry Ladue will be only too happy to sell you, for about $150 a pickup truckload.

(on camera): What kind of calls do you get?

HENRY LADUE, FIREWOOD SALESMAN: Desperation calls, mostly. How much, when, how long, can I come get it?

SAVIDGE (voice-over): These days in South Florida, the business of wood is good.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAYE: Martin Savidge for us tonight.

A suicide bomber vows revenge in a newly-released video. Unfortunately, the CIA thought he was one of theirs and the mistake cost them dearly.

And, later, is the proper way to fight heroin to publish a pamphlet on how to use it. The strategy is causing a lot of controversy. And it was paid for by New York City taxpayers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: New iReports are coming in after a 6.5 earthquake off the coast of Northern California. That's one of the homeowner's kitchens, quite a lot of mess to clean up. A lot of rattled nerves, but no serious injuries or damage reported. It struck just about 3 hours ago. Residents in Eureka and Ferndale say they felt a rolling motion that cracked walls and knocked things off the shelves. Authorities report scattered power outages and broken water and gas pipes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is apologizing for comments he made during the 2008 presidential campaign. A new book called "Game Change" quotes Reid as saying, then-Senator Barack Obama could win the White House because he was, quote, "light skinned" and had, quote, "no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one".

President Obama said he accepts Reid's apology. CNN's Dana Bash reports Senator Reid is reaching out tonight, to civil rights leaders and African-American members of Congress, including Julian Bond, Wade Henderson and Representatives Jim Clyburn and Barbara Lee.

In federal court in New York today, a not guilty plea from a suspected collaborator in an alleged terror plot last September. Twenty-five year old Adis Medunjanin is a Muslim immigrant from Bosnia is accused of getting training from Al Qaeda. He is also an alleged associate of Najibullah Zazi, who is charged with plotting an attack, in new York, that would have coincided with the eighth anniversary of 9/11. Zazi also has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Fresh confirmation tonight that the suicide bomber who killed seven CIA officers in Afghanistan was really an agent of the Pakistan Taliban. The chilling new video shows the man the CIA thought they could trust, revealing his true loyalties. Here's CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INT'L. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Speaking in Arabic and English, Jordanian doctor, Humam Khalil Abu- Mulal al-Balawi leaves no doubt, he duped both the CIA and his Jordanian intelligence handlers.

HUMAM KHALIL ABU-MULAL AL-BALAWI: The Jordanian and the American intelligence services offer me millions of dollars to work with them and spy on Mujahedeen here.

ROBERTSON: While we can't confirm those claims, this much is clear, he told the Jordanians he was going to Pakistan for medical training and to help them target Al Qaeda leaders. But all along, his plan was to attack U.S. targets.

AL-BALAWI: I came to the Mujahedeen and I told them everything, and we arranged together this attack.

ROBERTSON: For this veteran of Middle East security, it is clear, warning signs of a double cross were missed.

ALI SHUKRI, FMR. ADVISER TO KING HUSSEIN: It better be a learning experience. I mean, nothing teaches you harder than the spilling of blood.

ROBERTSON: The CIA deaths, he fears mean all spies will need reevaluation. Setting back the CIA hunt for Osama bin Laden.

SHUKRI: It will set them back, until they reform, regroup and start again.

ROBERTSON: The video message has other important lessons, too. The Arab doctor who had joined Pakistan's Taliban, claims his attack in revenge for U.S. drone strike killing their leader last year. Significant, the Taliban, not Al Qaeda took the lead, an indication of how closely the two groups operate together.

SHUKRI: Of course, it's worrying, because the nature of things in the Middle East, they never go away, they mutate, they spill over. We haven't seen Taliban in Yemen, but who knows.

ROBERTS: To Doctor Humam Al Balawi's father, the video his final confirmation of his worst fear, his son is dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am very, very sad. When I saw that Humam, I am very, very sad.

ROBERTSON: His other sons taking him inside the house, away from the cameras. But not before he speaks of his anger, implying the intelligence agencies were at fault.

(On camera): What his father has also said, is that he's angry at the people who did this to his son, that changed his son's mind. He won't say exactly who he thinks those people are, but he says this isn't the way he brought his son up, he brought him up to be a moderate.

(Voice over): What this new video reveals is anything but a moderate. Nic Robertson, CNN, Amman, Jordan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAYE: Senate Leader Harry Reid's words come back to haunt him. Why he's scrambling to apologize for comments he made about President Obama.

Plus, paying the price to report on the weather. A dedicated meteorologist demonstrates the dangers of 100 mile per hour winds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: As we've been reporting tonight Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is apologizing for saying privately, during the 2008 campaign, that then-Senator Barack Obama could win the White House because he was, quote, "light skinned" and had, quote, "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

President Obama says he accepts Reid's apology, but two Republicans hoping to challenge Harry Reid this fall are having a field day with Reid's comments. Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman and Senate candidate Sue Lowden says Reid's remarks are part of a larger problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUE LOWDEN, (R) NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: It's a pattern of bad judgment, remarks, that Senator Reid has made over the years, including the war is lost, when our sons were over in Iraq, fighting the war. Including saying, if you don't like the health care bill, then you must be a proponent of slavery. These are a series of remarks that the senator has made, not just one or two times, but many times. And it's just bad judgment on his part.

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KAYE: Nevada businessman Danny Tarkanian is also Republican Senate hopeful, he too is blasting Senator Reid. In a news release, Tarkanian says Reid, quote, "disgraces himself monthly". In his words, Harry Reid isn't just America's most vulnerable senator, as he demonstrates daily, he's also its most embarrassing." That's a direct quote.

There you have it, even though President Obama wants to, quote, "close the book" on Senator Reid's comments, some are just starting to dig in especially in Nevada. Blake McCoy is a reporter for our Las Vegas affiliate, KTNV.

Blake, tell me, how is this playing out there?

BLAKE MCCOY, REPORTER, KTNV NEWS: Yes, obviously, Reid is in a very tight re-election bid, coming up here, this November. And any remarks, any gaffs like this certainly don't help his re-election campaign, but what we were talking to, we talked to the former chair of the Nevada Democratic Party today, he said he doesn't see this going beyond just a minor blip on Reid's radar, going into the election. Because Reid does have such a strong record on civil rights here in the state of Nevada and in the country.

So while the Republican opponents of Reid obviously are, as you said, having a field day with this, and are criticizing Reid's comments, you'll notice neither of them going far enough to say that Reid is a racist. And that is why top Democrats here in the state really don't think they're going to have a problem with this. They're calling it just kind of a misspeak, and not something that will follow Reid into the campaign this November.

KAYE: Certainly, though, this seems to be the last thing that Harry Reid needs with a new poll out today, and he's at 40 percent?

MCCOY: It's not been a good week for Harry Reid, certainly, and earlier this week he was wrapped in a bitter debate with our own governor who said if Harry Reid's health care bill goes forward that the state of Nevada will sue the federal government over the health care issue. We have this one coming this weekend, this has really put Harry Reid on the defensive, which is not a place he wants to be going into an election.

KAYE: All right. Black McCoy from our Las Vegas affiliate tonight. Thank you so much, Blake.

A financial lifeline severed for some Maryland families. Why the cost of caring for this toddler is suddenly soaring all because of state budget cuts. >

And a manatee group hug? Well, not quite, but we'll tell you why these Florida creatures are finding strength in numbers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: Hard times, tough choices, critical services are being cut in Maryland, and the ripple effects will be devastating. Here's CNN's Kate Bolduan.

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MICHELLE BREWSTER, MOTHER: Oh, mommy found toys.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Four-year-old Carson Brewster has a rare chromosomal disorder. Her mother, Michelle, left a contracting job four years ago to care for Carson full time.

BREWSTER: She can't care for herself. You know, we have to change her clothes, she gets food -- fed through a tube. She's got over 22 doctors, so -

BOLDUAN (On camera): 22 doctors?

BREWSTER: Yeah.

BOLDUAN (voice over): With $13,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses last year alone, Brewster says supplemental funds from the State of Maryland have been essential to her family's financial survival for years. But the economy has struck even this vulnerable segment of the population, faced with a $700-million budget shortfall, Maryland cut nearly $30 million from the state's Development Disabilities Administration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's OK.

BOLDUAN: For the Brewster's that means painful decisions. The extra help for things like diapers, medication and physical therapy dropped from $2,500 to just $300.

(On camera): What does that really mean for you guys?

BREWSTER: A struggle. A struggle to figure out how we are going to help our - you know, how to help our daughter, and make sure we have the money to make sure our other children get it, too. Me and my husband, we can wait. Our kids can't. And that's what it is all about.

BOLDUAN (voice over): Outraged by the state' action, advocates for the developmentally disabled launched a statewide campaign, holding town halls to fight the budget cut.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think people realize how this can totally devastate your family.

BOLDUAN: State officials say they understand, especially in this sluggish economy. Every cut hurts someone, but they defend the governor's budget decision.

CATHERINE RAGGIO, SECRETARY, MARYLAND DEPT. OF DISABILITIES: He was able to protect services for people with disabilities throughout most of the budget cutting rounds. But the choices are getting much more difficult to make. It is not easy anymore.

BOLDUAN: And not easy for states across the country. A recent report by the Pew Center suggests states' budget troubles are having far reaching impact on residents.

SUSAN URAHN, PEW CENTER ON THE STATES: As the states face increasingly severe budget troubles, the public is definitely going to feel it. They will pay more taxes, they will pay higher fees.

BOLDUAN: With the $2-billion budget shortfall projected in Maryland for 2011, Brewster says she has no idea what is in store for her family's financial future. She only hopes more cuts aren't on the horizon for her daughter, and so many others.

BREWSTER: They didn't ask to be disabled. We are not asking for hands out, we are just asking for a little bit of help, that's it.

BOLDUAN: Kate Bolduan, CNN, Frederick County, Maryland.

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KAYE: It is not Nancy Reagan's anti-drug message, far from it, in fact. We'll uncover what's in the heroin pamphlet.

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KAYE: A guy describing the right and wrong way to shoot heroin, yes, you heard that right. It is a controversial new pamphlet that seems to communicate a mixed message depending on who you ask. Here is CNN's Alina Cho.

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ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The 16-page pamphlet is called, "Take Charge, Take Care: Ten Tips For Safer Use" a virtual heroin how-to guide, complete with illustrations and detailed tips. Warm your body, jump up and down to show your veins. Don't always inject in the same spot. And don't dig for veins. If you don't register, pull out and try again.

PETER VALLONE, JR., CHRM. PUBLIC SAFETY CMTE., NYC COUNCIL: Jump up and down to show your veins. Find the vein before you try to inject it. Where's the health concern there. If you miss the vein, you might get a bruise? That is an egregious misuse of taxpayer money.

CHO: The brainchild of New York City's Health Department, 70,000 flyers paid for with $32,000 taxpayer dollars.

JOHN GILBRIDE, DEA SPEC. AGENT IN CHARGE, NEW YORK: I think it sends out the message -- and the wrong message -- that heroin use can be safe. Heroin use cannot be safe. Heroin use can be deadly.

CHO: That's exactly why New York's Health Department says these tips are crucial. Accidental overdose is the fourth leading cause of death in New York City, claiming more than 600 lives a year. Another big issue, HIV and AIDS. One third of Americans living with HIV are infected through injection drug use. One reason why the Health Department also encourages users not to share needles. But adds, there's no healthy use of drugs, just helpful information.

DR. ADAM KARPATI, EXEC. DEPUTY COMM. OF MENTAL HYGIENE: The messages are clear, it's about getting help to stop using drugs, it's about preventing overdose, it's about preventing HIV infection, and hepatitis infection. That's the context.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was about eight years ago.

CHO: Information that could have helped this 35-year-old heroin user. We'll call him John, he shoots up several times a week. Two and a half years ago, John was diagnosed with hepatitis C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people who are going to use, they're going to find a way to use regardless. I think it's better that somebody has the right information so they can do it the right way.

CHO (On camera): The Health Department says the $32,000 they spent on the flyers is actually a drop in the bucket when you consider how much money is saved by preventing infections. Over a lifetime, treatments can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per person.

The Health Department says not teaching people how to shoot up safely is turning your back on reality. Meaning you can try to tell someone to stop using drugs, but unless they're ready, they won't. And in the meantime, the Health Department says this pamphlet is saving lives. Alina Cho, CNN, New York.

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KAYE: Cold weather in the Deep South is creating some unusual sites along one Florida canal, a herd of manatees have been huddling together just to stay warm. They can't stay much longer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KAYE: Does winter weather make you want to cuddle? If so, you're not alone. About 100 manatees have snuggled up in this Florida canal. Earlier I spoke with Carli Segelson from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, who explained why they're finding strength in numbers.

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CARLI SEGELSON, FLORIDA DEPT. OF FISH & WILDLIFE: Exposure to water temperatures below 68 degrees for long periods of time can lead to a condition called manatee cold stress syndrome, that can eventually lead to death. So manatees will -- what they'll do in these types of situations is they will gather in warm water habitats, like the canals and the power plants and the springs here, and they get into these warm water areas where they stay there until the water temperatures rise enough for them to be comfortable out in the open water.

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KAYE: Here's the problem, though, they have been hanging out there for about a week now, and munched away at most of the vegetation there, so eventually they're going to have to wander back out into the frigid water to find more food.

For three years now, we've been proud to introduce you to CNN Heroes, every day people who are changing the world. Tonight, you will meet a trucker turned lawyer in Vermont, where 72 percent of adult homicides are domestic violence related, and mostly in rural areas. Her name is Wynonna Ward and her motto is, Have Justice, Will Travel.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WYNONNA WARD, CNN HERO (voice over): When I was growing up on a rural back road, family violence was an accepted way of life.

(On camera): This is my mother, and I'm the baby here. And my father and my brother, Richard, and my sister, Pauline.

(voice over): My father would commonly abuse all of us. He raped me and beat my mother, and my other siblings. When the neighbors heard screaming coming from our home, they just turned their heads.

For domestic violence victims in rural areas it can be very devastating. They're out there on these back roads with no access to in-town services. Many of them do not have telephones. Some of them do not have driver's licenses, or an automobile, so we go to them.

My name is Wynonna Ward, the turning point for me was when a child in my family revealed she had been abused by my father, and my brother. I just said, this has to stop. When I graduated from law school, I was 48 years old.

(On camera): Good morning, my dear. (voice over): I go to people's homes, give them in-home consultations, provide them with free legal services, and transportation to and from court hearings. I don't want children to have to go through what I did as a child. I want to see my clients become empowered. I can understand them, and they know that I will be there to protect them.

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KAYE: Wynonna Ward has helped almost 10,000 victims of domestic violence. She drives 30,000 miles a year doing that. To see the inspiring story of one woman she's helped or to nominate someone you think is changing the world, go to cnn.com/heroes.

Ahead, and we are truly blown away by this reporter, throwing caution to the wind to bring us the story.

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KAYE: Snow in Florida, blistering cold in the nation's middle section, wind out West. No doubt weather is a big story this weekend. One meteorologist in Oregon got a little swept up, shall we say, in her coverage.

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KEELY CHALMERS, KGW METEOROLOGIST/REPORTER: Saying the wind is blowing, 60 to 70 miles an hour out here. The wind chill, is just painful.

KAYE: Oh, yeah, painful, watch that as she goes flying down there, taking that guy with her. That's Keely Chalmers, from CNN affiliate KGW, she was whipped away by the brutal winds, sending her straight to the ground and taking that guy with here. Her station says that wind gusts topped 100 miles per hour, where she was reporting, hard to stay upright certainly in those conditions.

Updating quickly, our top story, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Northern California. Some pictures, there, from a drug store, or some store in town, in Eureka, California. Can you see a lot of bottles, maybe shampoo bottles, or something like that, on the ground. Those are coming in to us, from our viewers.

It appears to have caused some minor damage, some downed power lines, and broken gas lines, certainly just a few pictures coming in. We're also told that -- oh, there's another one there from the "Eureka Times Standard" newspaper. We are also being told that St. Joseph's Hospital in Eureka is reporting it has treated one person for a broken hip, a few others for some bumps and bruises, but certainly has not had to call in any extra staff.

I'm Randi Kaye at the CNN Center in Atlanta. I'll see you back here tomorrow night at 6:00, 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Good night.