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AMERICAN MORNING

Taliban's Number Two Captured in Pakistan; Hiker Falls into Mt. St. Helens; Senator Evan Bayh Not Running for Re-Election; Toyota Culture Clash; Too Fat to Fly?; World Not Warming?; Alabama Shootings Suspect Linked to Crimes

Aired February 16, 2010 - 06:00   ET

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


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING on this Tuesday, February 16th. I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. Thanks for being with us. Here are the big stories we'll be telling you about in the next 15 minutes on the Most News in the Morning.

Developing this morning, it's being called the biggest setback to the Taliban since 2001. The U.S. and Pakistan say they have captured the terror group's number-two commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. We're live in Afghanistan with what intelligence officials hope to learn from his arrest.

CHETRY: Also right now, there is a man trapped in the mouth of Mount St. Helens, an active volcano. Rescue crews in Washington State are waiting for the sun to come up and for the winds to die down so they can go back into the crater to look for him. We're going to tell you exactly how it happened and how they're hoping to get him out.

ROBERTS: Plus, one of the most popular Democrats in Washington is calling it quits. Indiana Senator Evan Bayh says he will not run for a third term. So why is he doing it and what will it mean for Democrats trying to hold on to their majority in this year's midterm election? The breakdown from D.C. coming right up.

CHETRY: But first, developing this morning. He is the Taliban's top military commander, and this morning he is said to be in custody and talking. U.S. officials confirming that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, second only to the group's leader Mullah Omar was captured several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan. A big arrest that may put the U.S. in a better position to get some clues on the location of Osama bin Laden.

Now all of this comes amidst a turning point in the battle for Afghan hearts and minds. Tribal elders tell "The New York Times" they're now helping in what is the largest U.S.-led offensive since the war again.

Our Frederik Pleitgen is live in Kabul. And, Frederik, let's start with the Taliban capture. Appears to be a huge break for the United States. What else do you know? FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A huge break for the United States, Kiran. A huge blow to the Taliban, of course. You mentioned it. This man was very close to Osama bin Laden until at least 2001, so he could give clues as to where Osama bin Laden might be. He's also still very close to the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, and could also know where Mullah Omar is.

Now, on the other hand, of course, Kiran, there is his role as the strategic commander, the military commander of the Taliban here in Afghanistan, which you could be seeing in the next couple of weeks, is a demoralized Taliban knowing that their strategic leader has been captured. But also a leaderless Taliban without a real strategy, and that could offer real opportunities for the U.S. forces here in Afghanistan, Kiran.

CHETRY: Right, because all of this comes as the U.S. is pushing to the roots of the Taliban in Afghanistan with the latest offensive. What is the latest on the progress being made there?

PLEITGEN: Well, certainly what we're hearing from U.S. commanders is that progress is continuing to be made down in Marjah in that final Taliban stronghold in Helmand Province. They say right now they're in control of most of the area. They're still clearing out improvised explosive devices in that area but also getting together with local leaders and trying to lead to a transition of power. Here's what's been going on in the past 24 hours.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Day four of the biggest anti-Taliban offensive since the start of the war, and U.S. Marines are still facing resistance. The Afghan government says coalition forces now control most of Marjah, even though hundreds of Taliban fighters could still be hiding in the area.

HANIF ATMAR, INTERIOR MINISTER AFGHANISTAN: We don't know how they will shift in their tactics. But what we know is that number one they cannot flee the area anymore. That is blocked.

PLEITGEN: After a massive assault on what the U.S. says was the Taliban's final stronghold in Helmand Province, NATO and Afghan officials are calling in meetings with local leaders, trying to persuade them to break with the Taliban. But some say their support is conditional.

"The solution to this fight is Islamic government," this village elder says, "brotherhood among all Afghans from Pushtuns to Tajiks (ph) to Hazari (ph) and bringing security to Afghanistan as soon as possible and the withdrawal of foreigners."

Civilian casualties remain a problem after an artillery rocket killed 12 civilians on Sunday. NATO acknowledged three more civilians were killed in shooting incidents Monday. After big offensives in the past, the Taliban have often regrouped. This time the Afghan government says it will not back down. "I would like to give this message to our enemy," the defense minister says, "we will not leave the area. We will stay at all costs to bring peace. So it's better for them to join us in serving their country."

Four days after this massive drive to push the Taliban out of their stronghold, its long-term success remains undecided.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PLEITGEN: So certainly, Kiran, things still very volatile there down in Marjah. But it does appear as though that offensive is going America's way. And of course, also, with that arrest of the Taliban commander, it appears some very good breaks for the U.S. in the past 24 hours, Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Good news for sure. Thanks so much. Frederik Pleitgen for us this morning. We appreciate it.

ROBERTS: A storm warning is in effect this morning as extreme weather slams Ohio. Dangerous road conditions caused a 40-car pileup on Interstate-71. It brought traffic to a standstill, took several hours yesterday for the lanes to be reopened. Officials also had to dig out dozens of vehicles. No injuries thankfully were reported although as you can see there some vehicles were on their lids.

Our Rob Marciano is tracking this morning's extreme weather center. He's at the CNN center in Atlanta.

Rob, it's raining -- raining? Snowing just a little bit here in New York City, but coming down heavy in other parts. What are we in store for today?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Just a few inches I think in Manhattan. Temperatures right around the freezing mark, so that will be your saving grace. Any time you get a snowfall over six inches across the Ohio River, that's a decent deal. And there were a few records set in that span of real estate.

Let's go to the radar. I'll show you where the storm is. It's a pretty wide one and it's slowly moving up the Eastern seaboard. The back side, definitely some cold air. The front side of it, just cold enough for snow and that does include the New York City area, although it is a wet snow and in some cases mixing in with rain.

Most of the heavier amounts of snow expected across parts of upstate and the suburbs and parts of Connecticut. One to two, two to four. And then you really got to get into Maine and New Hampshire to see a winter storm warning of four to eight inches. But cold air, bitterly cold down across the south. We'll have a complete forecast, John and Kiran, in about 30 minutes. Good morning, we'll see you then.

ROBERTS: All right, Rob, thanks. Looking forward to it.

CHETRY: Also new this morning, right now, there's a man trapped in the mouth of an active volcano. Rescue crews in Washington State will try to go back in there this morning to reach the hiker. He fell into Mount St. Helens. And his partner says the man was literally over the lip of the crater and didn't know the only thing under him was snow until it gave way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE COX, SKAMANIA COUNTY SHERIFF'S SPOKESMAN: I think somebody was taking a picture of him when the corner center, it was a large one, it gave way. He disappeared over the edge.

CHETRY (voice-over): A 1,500-foot fall into the mouth of an active volcano.

COX: It was pretty much snow free, lots of boulders, lots of rocks.

CHETRY: And the hiker was no longer dressed for the cold.

COX: By the time you climb to the top of the mountain, you get pretty warm. So I understood, you know, they took off some of their jackets and stuff to cool down.

CHETRY: A 911 call from the rim sparked a massive search effort. And within an hour, a helicopter pilot could see the 52-year-old man on a snow bank and got within 50 feet. The Sheriff's Department says the pilot thought he could see his head moving and that a fellow climber thought he heard a rescue whistle-blowing. Another helicopter crew went in later and saw no movement.

There were attempts to reach the man from above and below. Rescue crews were able to put a medic on the crater floor. The plan -- climb up to the hiker. But it was getting dark, and the conditions were getting worse. It began raining. It was way too windy, and the rocks were falling near the hiker. So they got their guy out of there. There was nothing left crews could do for the hiker for now.

COX: Going to have to let the snow settle down because the avalanche danger is pretty bad. It's a nasty place to try and go. It's -- you know, if we have to do it, we'll do it.

CHETRY: Thousands of people climbed to the crater's rim every year, although a warning on the U.S. Forest Service Web site says it is, quote, "unstable and can be hazardous at any time."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY: Well, the hiker has reportedly climbed Mount St. Helens 65 times before. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard says that it did lower survival equipment into that crater near the area, but they're not sure right now if any of it reached him. And again, they're going to try to go back up there today and see if they can rescue the man alive.

ROBERTS: High drama on the high mountain this morning. Other stories new this morning. For most of us it's just Tuesday. But in New Orleans, in the Big Easy, it's Fat Tuesday. The final day of Mardi Gras. People will be lining the parade routes partying hard in the French quarter right up until midnight. It all cuts off for the beginning of lent. Of course, it's pretty much been a nonstop party in the Big Easy ever since the Saints won the Super Bowl on Sunday. "Laissez Le Bon Temps Roulet (ph). Wow.

CHETRY: There you go. The party continues in New Orleans.

Meanwhile, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg is in the hospital this morning after a fall at his home. A spokesman says the 86-yaer- old senator was taken to the hospital as a precaution and that he is doing well. Lautenberg just returned from a trip to Haiti with a congressional delegation, and he had planned a news conference today to talk about relief efforts in that nation.

ROBERTS: And a museum in Dallas marking Presidents Day by releasing never-before-seen footage of President Kennedy arriving at Love Field in Dallas on the day of his assassination. It captures the smiling president and first lady coming off of Air Force One, November 22, 1963. The rare color film was taken by William Ward Warren who was just 15 years old at the time. He donated the eight-millimeter home movie to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

CHETRY: Well, still to come on the Most News in the Morning, leading in the polls, a huge war chest. Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and his surprise announcement that he is planning to retire and what he may be planning for his future as well.

Ten minutes past the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Twelve minutes past the hour. Time now for an "A.M. Original." This is something you'll see only on AMERICAN MORNING.

He was strongly favored to win re-election, but Indiana Senator Evan Bayh unexpectedly announced he is not going to run this fall.

ROBERTS: And that is another seat that the struggling Democratic Party could lose to a Republican in this year's midterm elections. Right now, five Democratic seats up for grabs, six for the GOP. Political guru Charlie Cook has taken Indiana from a lean Democrat now and put it in the lean Republican column. Our Jessica Yellin looking into why the senator is deciding to bow out now.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATL. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, Kiran, it was a bombshell announcement for a Democratic Party already reeling from a string of retirements. Senator Evan Bayh did not hold his fire when he said he's retiring because he's had it with the partisan bickering in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: We know that this has a major impact --

YELLIN (voice-over): A two-term senator, son of a political dynasty, now Evan Bayh says he's exiting the U.S. Senate because he can't take the gridlock.

BAYH: For some time, I've had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should. There is much too much partisanship and not enough progress.

YELLIN: With $13 million in the bank and a recent poll indicating healthy double-digit leads over his top two Republican challengers, Bayh was well positioned to win re-election, but the senator is, in a phrase, fed up.

BAYH: I have not detected a level of anger and cynicism about the federal government in my lifetime as high as it is today.

YELLIN: Here, asking President Obama about spending.

BAYH: Why should the Democratic Party be trusted?

YELLIN: In late January, he told "The Wall Street Journal" Democrats had "overreached rather than looking for consensus," and observed to ABC News that he sees "the furthest left elements of the Democratic Party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country."

Those close to Bayh say he's considered this move for a year, even sharing his ruminations with President Obama. His latest frustrations, one, the Senate hasn't passed a bill to deal with its top priority, jobs. And two, he was outraged that seven senators voted against a measure they originally sponsored which would have reigned in federal spending. Bayh says it was all about politics.

BAYH: I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives, but I do not love Congress.

YELLIN: But Bayh's political future may still be bright. He was once Indiana governor and the seat is open in 2012. Listen closely. Does it sound lake he's running for something?

BAYH: I'm an executive at heart. I value my independence. I'm not motivated by strident partisanship or ideology. These traits may be useful in many walks of life, but unfortunately they are not highly valued in Congress.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

YELLIN: Bayh's announcement really leaves the Democrats in a bind. There's not enough time for any other Democrat to file the paperwork to meet a deadline later this week. That means the Indiana State Party and not the voters will decide which Democrat runs in Evan Bayh's place in November -- John, Kiran.

ROBERTS: Jessica Yellin this morning. Jessica, thanks. We're going to get to hear more about all of this from the man himself. Indiana's outgoing Senator Evan Bayh will be our guest at 7:25 Eastern. That's just a little more than an hour from now, right here on the Most News in the Morning.

CHETRY: And also new this morning, a statue of President Obama as a young boy in Indonesia is now on the move. Authorities pulled it from a park in Jakarta. They're moving it to an elementary school that the president once attended. The bronze statue was inspired by a picture of a 10-year-old President Obama. He is wearing short and has a butterfly perched on his thumb. Critics say an Indonesian hero should have been honored instead.

ROBERTS: Are we ready for a cybershockwave? A Washington think tank will try to find out the answer to that question today. It's launching a mock cyber attack on the United States to demonstrate how the government would respond to a large-scale attack on the nation's computer systems and networks.

Former national security officials will play cabinet members and react in real time. We're going to dig deep into this morning coming up at 8:30 Eastern. We're going to talk with two of the key players, former CIA Director General Michael Hayden and former Homeland Security adviser Fran Townsend.

CHETRY: New information about the professor accused of killing three colleagues at the University of Alabama. Her husband tells the Associated Press that she went to a shooting range some time before she opened fire in a faculty meeting, but he did not know where she got the gun.

Amy Bishop now facing capital murder charges. We're learning more about the accused killer's violent past, as well, and what may have put her over the edge this time. Joe Johns is digging deeper into the story. We'll hear from him at 6:40 Eastern time.

ROBERTS: Well, more trouble for Toyota. A government agency says there has been a spike in consumer complaints. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it is now investigating a total of 34 Toyota complaints alleging fatalities since the year 2000.

But the carmaker is actively engaged in damage control, saying it has fixed a half a million vehicles that were recalled for sticky gas pedals. And this public relations disaster is forcing other Japanese companies to lower the veil of corporate secrecy. Our Kyung Lah joins us live from Tokyo this morning with an A.M. original, something that you'll see only on "American Morning."

Kyung, good morning, what are we talking about here?

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John, what we're talking about is what Japan watchers are talking about. It is the way corporate Japan works. There's a lot of soul searching going on. Does it need to change? There are now calls from both outside and within Japan that it absolutely needs to change if it plans on doing business with American buyers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LAH (voice-over): Under the conservative exterior is a radical plan -- open up corporate Japan. Eta is a crisis management consultant teaching these senior executives of a food manufacturer how to deal with the scandal. No better example of how not to act, he says. Than Toyota who followed in lockstep, the secretive rules of corporate Japan.

A corporate culture that closes off amid challenges instead of opening up. When safety problems with Toyota's cars started to emerge, Toyota closed ranks, alleges Joan Claybrook, a former administrator with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

JOAN CLAYBROOK, FORMER NHTSA ADMINISTRATOR: There's too much secrecy, that there's -- Toyota was allowed to get away with withholding information, with not being transparent and forthcoming with the Department of Transportation. And as a result we've had people die and be injured and I'm sure there are going to be more.

LAH: Japan scholar Jeffrey Kingston says Toyota was following the rules of corporate Japan, not the consumer-driven U.S., and that gap is the problem.

PROF. JEFFREY KINGSTON, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: I think in Japan there has been a greater movement toward more transparency, moreaccountability, and better communication. But it's a slow movement, and I think that this case highlights how much farther they have to go.

LAH: Back at the management class, questions about how to deal with the corporate crisis. The answer -- be speedy, don't hide, don't lie. Simple rules, and a radical change for Japan, Inc.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAH (on-camera): And there are signs now that Toyota Motor Corporation itself is changing. We are expecting a news conference tomorrow where we're getting an update on how this Prius recall is going, holding that news conference will be Toyota's President Akio Toyota. A far cry from what we saw early in this controversy when we couldn't find him for weeks -- John.

ROBERTS: A rapid change in Japan. Kyung Lah, thank you very much.

CHETRY: Coming up on the most news in the morning, why some of your favorite brand-name products are disappearing from store vessels. Gerri Willis explains. Just minding her business just ahead, 20 minutes past the hour now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Twenty two and a half minutes after the hour. That means it's time for "Minding Your Business." Gerri Willis here this morning in for Christine Romans and in some cases, less is more.

GERRI WILLIS, PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: That's right. You know all shoppers are looking for bargains, right? Well, they're all looking to save money. Now one retailer is telling them we're going to help you save that dough by tossing out expensive brand names and putting house brands in. That's right.

That's exactly what Walmart is doing. Some experts saying they're cutting the clutter. And they're not confusing customers by putting in a lot of extra brands. For example, I was telling you this morning that I actually counted the number of Crest brands out there. How many brand extensions have they had?

Some 42 so it's really confusing for people. My favorite, Liquigel burst-in bubble gum. There may be something else going on. Let's look at the list of brand names that are going to be out, toilet paper, mouthwash, bar soap, salad dressing. Experts say something else is going on here.

They say when the company threw Arm & Hammer liquid detergent out they only put it back in when the company started spending more on advertising dollars. It could be that Walmart is just trying to wring more money out of their suppliers. Of course they have a long history of doing this, trying to reduce price for customers.

So it's an interesting story. You can read more on cnnmoney.com.

ROBERTS: A lot of cases these house brands are made by the company that -- whose brand they're kicking out, correct?

WILLIS: That's right. It used to be a badge of honor to make that house brand. Now I think some producers are saying at the end of the day, boy, we're really taking it on the chin. That wasn't such a great strategy.

I think at the end of the day this is going to be something you see change over time. In the warehouse clubs, for example, they'll have just one brand name product, but they'll float in others as those companies offer them more advertising dollars, some kind of deal that is to the advantage of the retailer, not to the producer.

CHETRY: All right, very interesting. Thanks, Gerri Willis for us this morning in "Minding Your Business."

Meanwhile, next on the most news in the morning, Kevin Smith, he's a director, done "clerks" as well as a lot of other films that people love. He had it with a certain airline. He was kicked off a flight he says for being too big. Now has the reason to question, who's to decide if you're too fat to flay fly?

Twenty five minutes past the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Back to the Most News in the Morning. Can you really be too fat to fly? The question people are asking after the news that film director Kevin Smith was thrown off of a Southwest Airlines flight because of his size. Smith has since launched a one-man assault against the airline with Twitter as his weapon of choice. CNN's Mary Snow is following developments for us.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, some are calling this a Twitter time bomb that's unleashed a debate over airline policies that are considered sensitive not in the forefront but need to be addressed, and Kevin Smith isn't shying away from it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): A quiet character in his movies, yes, but director Kevin Smith is not holding back on being kicked off a Southwest flight because of his size. He took to his Twitter page with this picture and messages like this saying, "I know I'm fat, but was the pilot really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?"

Southwest admits it erred by asking him to leave a flight after he was seated -- "First and foremost, to Mr. Smith," it said in a statement, "We would like to again offer our heartfelt apologies. We're sorry for how the flight played out."

But Southwest points to its customers of size guidelines saying passengers need to be able to lower both armrests to fit in one seat. "Our employees are responsible for the safety and comfort of all customers on the aircraft and, therefore, made the determination that Mr. Smith needed more than one seat to complete his flight comfortably.

The airline said Smith had bought two seats for his original flight, but when he decided to catch an earlier flight, there was only one seat available. Smith says in a podcast on his Twitter page when he bought the two seats it wasn't because he needed them.

KEVIN SMITH, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: If I have to, I could fly one seat in Southwest.

SNOW: I'm aware.

SMITH: I just opt not to because it's way more comfortable, and I got enough money to do it.

SNOW: So who decides when someone is too big for one's seat? Basically the airlines. The FAA requires passengers to be able to sit with seat belts and both armrests down, but the airlines make the judgment call.

RICK SEANEY, CEO, FARECOMPARE.COM: I think they need to look at the policies really close and hopefully maybe get an agency to define it so that they are more transparent and somebody above the airlines who really don't want to touch it with a ten-foot pole can make the policy.

SNOW: But one group that does want to talk about is the Association for Airline Passengers Rights, an advocacy group. With more than one-third of Americans considered obese, Brandon Macsata advocates adding bigger seats in one row of the plane. BRANDON MACSATA, ASSOC. FOR AIRLINE PASSENGER RIGHTS: This happens to people every single day. And we don't think it's the size of a person's rear-end, that's the issue. Rather, we think it should be the size of the seat.

SNOW: Southwest isn't alone in requiring larger passengers to purchase a second seat. Southwest says it will refund the passenger for that seat if the flight isn't fully booked -- John and Kiran.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY: Still ridiculous, though. The seats -- it's so cramped, right? I'm flying coach. It doesn't matter how big you are. You're -- you don't fit.

ROBERTS: Yes. I never find that the problem is this way, it's this way.

CHETRY: I know.

ROBERTS: You're knees are up here.

CHETRY: Exactly.

ROBERTS: Trying to eat your peanuts like this. The whole thing is...

(CROSSTALK)

CHETRY: If you've paid for them. Yes, you can eat your peanuts.

ROBERTS: I still get free peanuts.

CHETRY: You do?

ROBERTS: Yes.

CHETRY: They must really like you. Maybe -- maybe you have the gold card.

ROBERTS: I fly a lot, though.

CHETRY: Thirty minutes past the hour right now. It means it's time for other stories new this morning. The Taliban is now denying it, but U.S. officials tell CNN they've captured the Taliban's number two and that he's talking to investigators.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is said to have been nabbed several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan. Officials say are hoping that the capture will lead them to the Taliban's spiritual leader, Mullah Omar, or even give them clues as to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

Rescue crews waiting for the sun to come up and the extreme conditions to wind down on Mount Saint Helens so they can go back in to try to rescue a hiker who fell 1,500 feet into the crater. They came within 15 feet of reaching the man yesterday, but because of the high winds and falling rocks, they had to turn back.

Also, today, President Obama is turning his attention to you and your job. This morning, he's touring a training facility for electrical workers in Maryland and will also give a short speech on jobs in the energy sector. He's trying to get lawmakers on Capitol Hill to move quicker on a jobs bill. Right now, the national unemployment rate stands at 9.7 percent -- John.

ROBERTS: All right, Kiran.

Last week's record snowfall is giving new ammunition to skeptics of global warming. Also heating up the debate, new research that raises doubts about a United Nations report that found that climate change is, quote, "unequivocal" and that man is to blame for it.

John Christy is one of the researchers challenging the U.N.'s findings. He's a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. He joins us now live this morning from Huntsville.

John, great to see you this morning. Thanks so much for coming in.

JOHN CHRISTY, PROFESSOR, ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE, UNIV. OF ALABAMA- HUNTSVILLE: Good morning.

ROBERTS: Let's talk first of all about what we see now. The record amounts of snowfall that we're seeing in places like Washington, D.C., other parts of the Mid-Atlantic region, snowing this morning here in New York City. Skeptics are saying, OK, where's the global warming since there's all this snow? Supporters of global warming are saying, hey, it's a change in weather patterns, we're seeing more severe snow. At the same time, we had the warmest January in 30 years.

What's going on?

CHRISTY: Well, blizzards, droughts, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes -- when you look at the long-term record, those things are not changing at all in terms of the long term. And so, they've happened before, and they will happen again. It's really not an indication that climate is changing in terms of man causing any of these things.

ROBERTS: Right. So, you think that this is all part of a natural cycle? Are you one of the people that's in that camp?

CHRISTY: Well, I'm one of the people that looks very hard at data. I actually build these data sets from scratch. And we simply don't see any long-term changes in these kinds of events.

ROBERTS: You know, we mentioned the intergovernmental panel on climate change, the United Nations report in 2007, which said that climate change, global warming is, quote, "unequivocal" and also stated that man is to blame for most if not all of it. You were a lead author on a 2001 IPCC report. So, you've been involved in the whole process.

When you look at that 2007 report, you are now saying that the data that was used to build this consensus in this report is flawed. What's wrong with it?

CHRISTY: Well, I wasn't saying the data are flawed, they're just being misinterpreted. The surface temperatures that show the warming, they're telling us that something is warming but not because of the greenhouse effect by and large. What we find is that it's the development of the surface by human habitation and building of farms and so on like this that really is affecting the temperature record, not the greenhouse effect.

ROBERTS: So, you're saying that, I guess, since the 1800s when they really started looking very closely at this, that development has changed the temperature readings that we get on the surface, but that's not an indication that the climate is actually changing?

CHRISTY: No. That kind of measurement doesn't really tell us about the greenhouse effect about human-caused climate change of the global atmosphere. You want to look at other kinds of indicators like the temperature of the deep layer of the atmosphere, say the lowest 30,000 feet of the atmosphere.

ROBERTS: So, what you do is you use satellites to measure that distance between the earth's surface and the height of about 30,000 feet to read temperatures as opposed to reporting from surface stations? How do -- how does that differ in terms of the data set?

CHRISTY: Well, because we're looking at the deep layer of the atmosphere, we're not contaminated by the buildings and roads and farms, and so on, that are built at the surface. And so, we see a true picture of what the global bulk atmosphere is doing. It is warming in the past 30 years, but that rate is quite a bit less than what climate models are indicating, and so that the greenhouse effect, as we understand it, is overstated, I think, in the IPCC report.

ROBERTS: So, what -- but if you talk to people like Michael Mann, climate researcher of Penn State University, the man who is responsible for the so-called "hockey stick" graph, that shows temperatures fairly steady throughout the last, oh, I guess, 800, 900 years, and then suddenly increasing the middle of last century.

He says scientists are taking into this account this development. They're ruling it out. They're adjusting for it -- and that what you're saying just isn't the case.

CHRISTY: Well, I beg to differ. My publications specifically show that these things are not taken into account. And in terms of the hockey stick, I was the lead author with Mike back in 2001. And I complained about that quite a bit. And it turns out that my complaints were really founded because the information used in that is not really good for taking temperatures over 1,000 years.

ROBERTS: There's also something else that's out there. Phil Jones from the University of East Anglia, the climate research unit, the guy that was at the center of this recent e-mail controversy late last year, has said in an interview with the BBC that he has not seen any, quote, "statistically significant warming since 1995," though he says he still believes that the earth's temperature has warmed. And he also said that he might be missing some of the data that is responsible for his climate models.

Of course, skeptics are jumping all over this, saying the whole thing is a farce. Global warming doesn't exist.

What do you think of the Professor Jones situation, the lack of statistically significant warming, and the fact that he may have misplaced some of the records?

CHRISTY: Well, I think what Phil Jones is saying is that Mother Nature is perfectly capable of making the temperature rise and fall through the past several hundred years. And in terms of the data problems, well, we do have to be careful when we're talking about public policy, that means trillions of dollars, and we haven't had that very hard and critical situation where you take care of data and make it publicly available to everyone. And that needs to be done now.

ROBERTS: So, Jeff, final point here. Who's in control of the global temperature, man or Mother Nature?

CHRISTY: Well, I think Mother Nature is mostly in charge. And she is -- she's showing us what she can do this winter, that's for sure.

ROBERTS: All right. John Christy from the University of Alabama at Huntsville -- good to catch up with you this morning. Another voice in the debate here this morning about global climate change -- appreciate your time, sir. Good to talk to you.

CHRISTY: Thank you.

ROBERTS: All right.

And we got 38 minutes after the hour. Stay with us.

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ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

There are new details in the case against Amy Bishop Anderson, the University of Alabama professor accused of gunning down three of her faculty -- fellow faculty members on Friday.

CHETRY: Yes. She's now been linked to two other crimes -- the attempted mailing of two of pipe bombs that was back in 1993, and also the shooting death of her own brother back in 1986. In that case, no charges were filed, nor in the pipe bomb investigation, but why?

Our Joe Johns is looking for some answers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A distinguished Harvard-educated scientist reduced to this -- listen closely, you can hear accused shooter Amy Bishop Anderson responding to questions about the shootings.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Ma'am, do you have anything to say? Do you know about what happened?

AMY BISHOP ANDERSON, SUSPECT: It didn't happen. There's no way.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about the people who died?

ANDERSON: There's no way. They're still alive.

JOHNS: In fact, three of the shooting victims survived the attack, three others died. And Anderson, known on campus as Amy Bishop, is charged with capital murder.

Her case seems and sounds almost like an anomaly because a woman killer with multiple victims is extremely rare.

JACK LEVIN, CRIMINOLOGIST, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: Violence is a masculine pursuit in general. But when it comes to mass murders in the workplace, at schools, in the family -- it's almost always a man. In fact, this is really a unique occurrence where a woman on campus kills three people. We just have never seen that before.

JOHNS: But in this case, if the charges are true, it's likely to be less about gender and more about job loss. Her husband, Jim Anderson, told CNN she had been denied tenure at the University of Alabama in Huntsville where she was working.

LEVIN: People do not understand tenure. You know, they think of it as some guarantee of a job for the rest of your life. But if you're denied tenure, you're fired, you're out of here. And in this bad economy, you probably won't work again.

JOHNS: But keeping them honest, new questions are now being raised about Amy Bishop and whether police in the past missed a potential crime. In 1986, as a 19-year-old in the Boston area, she shot her brother to death. She was never charged. That shooting was deemed an accident.

After this weekend's shooting, police in Boston went looking for the original police report on what happened and couldn't find it, which is pretty hard to explain right now. A search for the records is now underway to shed light on why she wasn't charged.

CHIEF PAUL FRAZIER, BRAINTREE POLICE DEPT.: I can tell you it -- it reflects poorly, I believe, on the department at that time.

JOHNS: And there's even more: "The Boston Globe" reported that in 1993 in Boston, Amy Bishop and her husband, Jim Anderson, were questioned by investigators after someone sent a pipe bomb that never injured anyone to a Harvard medical school professor. Again, no charges were ever filed.

So, now, the investigation is taking two tracks: finding out whether Amy Bishop actually is guilty of what looks like premeditated murder and finding out whether authorities missed a trail of warning signs dating back 24 years.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And we're coming up on 44 minutes after the hour. Rob Marciano is going to head this morning's travel forecast right after the break -- something you want to pay attention to with all the snow out there.

CHETRY: Oh, yes, definitely. Also, in 10 minutes, from the cute and cuddly, to the big and hairy, Jeanne Moos takes us behind the scenes of the Westminster dog show.

It's 44 minutes past the hour.

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CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Forty- seven minutes past the hour right now as we take a look at Boston. It's 32 degrees, with a later 33 degrees, and they are getting snow, looks like probably accumulations of about four inches for Boston today.

Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. It's time for your "AM House Call," stories about your health. Determining whether an athlete has suffered a concussion may be as simple as having them catch a falling object. Researchers say that the longer it took for the person to catch a weighted disc, the more likely it is that they have suffered a minor head injury.

Researchers say that postmenopausal women who take hormone replacement therapy may have a slightly higher risk for coronary heart disease during the first few years after starting hormones, but according to the study, the risk can decreases after six years.

And a small study finding that the hormone Oxytocin helped improve the social functions in autistic children and adults. Researchers say that patients who inhaled to the hormone paid more attention to expressions and also scored better in a game involved tossing ball with others. Oxytocin is nick name the hormone of love because it's known to promote mother-infant bonds after childbirth and during breast-feeding, but it is interesting, a very small study but could show promise for people with both Asperger's and some more mild forms of autism.

ROBERTS: A lot of research going into that and still so little would really known about it, particularly the cause.

CHETRY: Right.

ROBERTS: The more they find out, maybe could be the key to unlocking this whole thing.

CHETRY: Absolutely.

ROBERTS: Some dramatic video out of Italy to show you this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS (voice-over): A landslide was caught on tape in the southern region of Calabria. About 200 residents were evacuated from their homes. Thankfully, no deaths were reported, but take a look at this, the entire hillside moving. Initial reports blame heavy rains which have caused more than 100 smaller landslides in the region.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: We could see a lot of that, too, in California with this El Nino year.

CHETRY: Right. That was just amazing. It literally almost liked a movie.

ROBERTS: Yes, the whole mountain is moving.

CHETRY: I mean, you're seeing the entire land was sliding off to the side.d

It's 49 minutes past the hour right now. We get a check of the morning's weather headlines with our Rob Marciano. He is in the Extreme Weather Center this morning. Certainly, a lot to talk about this morning, a lot of areas in the country getting hit.

MARCIANO: Yes, we'll start off to the northeast. You, guys, are getting a little bit of snow; although, it could be a lot worse. Temperature is right around the freezing mark. This low slowly moving up to the north and east, it's really part of a bigger system, a bigger pattern that's going to keep cold air really driving down across the south and rotating around this what we call a polar vortex.

What it means really is that cold air is going to remain in place; although, temperatures right now are just barely cold enough for snow in places like New York, up through White Plains, Greenwich- Stanford area.

We'll see accumulation from these areas but not a ton, maybe an inch, two, three, maybe four inches. Computer models picking up maybe a highlight, a bull's eye, a little bit more than that around Hartford getting up to Boston. We do have winter storm warnings that are posted for parts of Southern New England and Maine and New Hampshire. D.C. metros, you'll see some flight delays today; Philly as well; Pittsburgh and Cleveland, some low clouds and low visibility.

The Midwest including the Ohio River Valley will continue to see lake-effect snows throughout the day today. As a matter of fact, Cincinnati, so far, for the month has seen over 23 inches of snow and that is a record. They'll continue to see snow showers throughout the day today and then cold air all the way down to where they're celebrating Mardi Gras. Another storm moves into the Pacific Northwest as they rush to try to rescue that hiker there across the border in Southern Washington at Mount St. Helen's. We'll keep you posted on that, as well. John and Kiran, happy Mardi Gras.

CHETRY: You, too Rob. Thanks so much. All right. We'll keep you posted, of course, on that rescue. They're going to attempt to try to get up there again when gets a little light and also when the winds die down.

ROBERTS: Icy situation up there.

This morning's top stories are just minutes away now including top of the hour, a hiker trapped inside Mount St. Helen's. Extreme weather driving rescue teams away. How he got there, and how crews plan to get to him out? That's coming up.

CHETRY: And at 40 minutes past the hour, we are on the gun trail. We watch as gun sales go down and talk about how guns purchased illegally in some states may then end up in the wrong hands.

ROBERTS: And at 45 minutes after, stupid groundhog or maybe you can delay the field (ph). Why the south should expect even more snow all the way in March. Those stories and more at the top of the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. An unemployed Ohio man is usin his down time to build his own igloo.

ROBERTS: Jim Grey's 625 square-foot ice house has four rooms, flat screen TV, surround sound and -- I don't know why, but he's got them anyways -- strobe lights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM GREY, JR., BUILT LUXURY IGLOO: And I kept on building it out further and further, and kept on going with it, and before you knew it, it was 25 by 25 by seven-foot tall.

Jim Grey, sr., Jim's dad: When he took my cable wire from the garage, and he said he was going to put his TV in there, I was a little bit surprised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHETRY: There you go. Look at that. Jim says he doesn't have a fridge, but he's not too concerned because he says the beer never gets warm.

ROBERTS: Yes. Built-in cooler there.

Time now for the Moost News in the Morning.

CHETRY: Yes. It's the day two of the Westminster Dog Show, by the way. Big, big new ones here in New York. They're strutting; they're stylists, even plenty of security on-hand.

ROBERTS: And kind of like fashion week all over again though with a little bit of a twist. Our Jeanne Moos goes behind the scenes with some of the four-legged divas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the show where the people tend to look like the dogs and the dogs tend to look like people. From the hairless to the hair bald. They are sprayed, powdered, petted, and given mouth-to-mouth treats.

The jaws dropped here in Westminster when they heard the story of an alleged New York dognapping.

How much will you give me to bring your dog back?

It happened during last week's blizzard. A Brooklyn family was out in prospect park with their beloved 3-year-old dog sugar when she managed to take off. Their phone number was on sugar's collar, and soon after the family got home, a man called.

DRUCIE BELMAN, SUGAR'S OWNER: He said, "how much are you going to give me for her?" and I said, "I don't know, $50, what is it that you want?" and he hung up.

MOOS: A rescue group has offered a $5,000 reward, but sugar is still missing.

Here at Westminster with all the pricey show dogs, they practice low-tech security.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: I don't let her out of my sight.

MOOS: And high tech.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: I do, I do have him chipped.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: Oh, yes. This microchipped; they're all chipped.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: They microchipped right here.

MOOS: Some don't worry about dog napping.

And you think you can steal a dog like that?

And some hire a security guard to keep an eye on as many as a dozen dogs.

Now, are you armed?

UNKNOWN FEMALE: No, I love dogs. I have two of my own.

MOOS: No, are you armed?

UNKNOWN FEMALE: Do you have a weapon?

UNKNOWN FEMALE: No, no.

MOOS: She was watching one of three breeds new this year to Westminster.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: Pyrenean shepherds. You can just call them Pyr Sheps.

MOOS: Then, there's the...

UNKNOWN FEMALE: Norwegian Buhund.

MOOS: Which means farm dog in Norwegian. The third new breed is the Irish Red & White Setter.

UNKNOWN MALE: Typical Irishman. He's a bit of a clown. Aidan (ph). He's an Irishman, too.

MOOS: Some of the dogs here are famous.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: He's the Iams dog.

MOOS: Star of dog food commercials. This bulldog is named Munch after the character in "Law and Order." Munch would be a breeze to steal.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: He would walk off with you right now if you took the leash.

MOOS: Let's go, Munch. Come on, Munch.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: What are you doing, Munch. You go walking off with strangers.

MOOS: But when he shakes, Munch has a secret weapon, and it landed on me.

UNKNOWN FEMALE: A slinger.

MOOS: A slinger?

UNKNOWN FEMALE: I'll give you a baby wipe. You've been slung.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN...

New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY: Just drool continuously, bulldogs.

ROBERTS: A slinger. What was that Tom Hanks movie with the dog was called? Hooch?

CHETRY: Yes. "Turner and Hooch." ROBERTS: The dog, he would shake his head and the stuff would sling everywhere.

CHETRY: All right. That was a huge dog. What was that one?

ROBERTS: Bullmastiff.

CHETRY: Yes, yes, bullmastiff. Good one. They just drool continuously.

ROBERTS: But I love Jeanne Moos' piece, but nothing toughs triumphs the insult comic dogs coverage at Westminster.

CHETRY: But you know, because just want to know one.

ROBERTS: For the ages.

CHETRY: Right?

ROBERTS: Exactly.

CHETRY: We're going to take a quick break. It's two minutes on the top of the hour, and your top stories are 90 seconds away.

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