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Ohio Not Seeking Federal Help; Tornadoes Kill 39 In Five States; Tornadoes, Now Snow In Kentucky; Candidates Vie For 419 Delegates; Gingrich Laying Romney Doubts; Cops Find 750 Pounds Of Meth In House; Girl Scouts Fight Robber; Man Rescued From Freezing Cold River; Betting On Ohio On "Super Tuesday"; National Organization For Women: Fire Limbaugh; Obama, Netanyahu to Meet

Aired March 5, 2012 - 10:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Like a war zone or an end of the world movie, that's how some people are describing devastating tornadoes that tore through the Midwest and the south.

Here is the latest for you. The violent storms are now blamed for 39 deaths in five states. More than 650 National Guard troops are now on the ground in two of the hardest hit states, Kentucky and Indiana.

FEMA has also dispatched teams to those states to begin damage assessment. But even with all of the damage we have seen, the Ohio governor, the Republican, John Kasich, is not asking for federal help, at least right now.

CNN's Athena Jones is in tornado-ravaged Henryville, Indiana. But Athena, I want to ask you about Ohio and the governor's decision not to take federal help right now.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ohio management officials -- emergency management officials tell us that they are out right now assessing the damage, which we understand to be not nearly as extensive as what we are seeing here in Indiana.

But those state emergency management officials are out assessing the damage, figuring out what is needed. Right now, at this moment, they feel that they are able to handle debris removal there in Ohio, but they could make a decision later today to go ahead and make a formal request to FEMA.

So, that decision hasn't come down to whether they absolutely will or absolutely won't it could still happen, that call, it just hasn't been made yet. Of course, here in Indiana, we should mention that there have had FEMA teams in place since Friday.

But so far, they have been acting in more of an advisory role as they do in many of these disaster situations. We haven't seen them out and about yet, even in this hard-hit town of Henryville, which, as you can see, there's extensive damage here.

You can look here over to my left. There is an auto body shop. This used to be an auto body repair shop. You can still see some of the cars underneath all of that rubble. And in the streets behind us, going back behind us, there are houses that have whole sides ripped off.

So even though here in Henryville, we haven't yet seen a lot of FEMA officials here on the ground now doing assessments, but they are here on the state level coordinating with officials here -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I want to ask you about this toddler, she was found alone in a field, no one knows, you know, how she got there. She died yesterday. It was such a heartbreaking story.

JONES: It really is. You know, for two days, she had been this toddler, 14-month-old Angel Babcock had been a symbol of hope because even though the rest of her family was killed, this is in a town called New Pecan, which is about 20 miles southwest of where we are here.

You know, this tornado came through and this emergency, National Weather Service officials believe it was at least 50 miles long so, a big path of damage. Her family had hunkered down in a mobile home, a double wide mobile home with a neighbor, thinking that they might be safe there.

We learned that they lay on the floor, they prayed, but ultimately, her mother and father, 21-year-old father, 20-year-old mother and her two young siblings were killed. Their bodies were found immediately after the storm, but this young child, Angel Babcock, was found alone in a field near a sawmill down there she was alive.

They took her to the hospital, but she died yesterday from her injuries. We understand from her grandfather that she suffered a lot of injuries to the head. The family decided to take her off life support about 4:10 p.m. yesterday afternoon.

So it really was -- she had been a glimmer of hope and ultimately, she did not win her fight so one of the sad stories around here -- Carol.

COSTELLO: We understand she was surrounded by 20 members of her family and our hearts go out for them -- to them this morning. Thank you, Athena Jones reporting live for us.

A Kentucky town nearly wiped out by the powerful storm system is facing a new problem this morning. Meteorologist Rob Marciano is following that for us in West Liberty, Kentucky.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Carol, it is still snowing here in West Liberty, Kentucky, got about three inches of snow overnight and that has made the situation even worse, as you can imagine, all of the debris, dangerous to begin with.

When you have got shards of glass, you've nails and sharp pieces of metal and then cover that up with seemingly innocent snow, that makes it even more dangerous and obviously, it is slick. It is wet and it's just overall nasty.

They are not letting residents back in this area again today because it is too dangerous. They are going to try to string up some power and at least, get that going. Power and communication has been the biggest struggle with this situation here and this town, which by the way, is the county seat, this is the heart of Morgan County.

It pretty much feeds the surrounding rural areas, when it is shutdown like it is that pretty much paralyzes a good chunk of the eastern part of Kentucky. Kentucky, as a whole, 21 of the 39 fatalities happened in this state. The worst tornado outbreak they have seen since at least 1974 -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Thank you, Rob. To find out how you can help those affected by the tornadoes, go to There you will find all the organizations and all the ways you can help those in need,

A huge payday for GOP candidates in tomorrow's Super Tuesday contest. Ten states offering up a total of 419 delegates. When the smoke clears, we could have a clearer picture of this race. Yes, right. Our political editor, Paul Steinhauser joins me now.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Could, could. That is a good word, could.

COSTELLO: I hope it does because I think a lot of people are just tired of it. I know you are not, but that is OK because we love you for that reason. So you have these two key polls, so, hit us.

STEINHAUSER: All right, let's start in Ohio, a state you know extremely well. You know, I guess not all Super Tuesday states are created equal. Ohio seems to be a little more crucial than the rest.

Take a look at this from Quinnipiac University brand new this morning. Last week, Rick Santorum had a double digit lead. Well, now it's Romney at 34 percent. Santorum with 31, basically dead even and you could see right there last week, Santorum up by seven.

So it's like the momentum in Ohio has swung to Mitt Romney. Let's go to Georgia. This is an important state, more for Newt Gingrich. He has to win it. Remember, he represented the congressional district here for two decades.

Well, every poll, including this brand new one from the "Atlanta Journal Constitution" indicates Newt Gingrich up there by double digits. Carol, again, Super Tuesday, more delegates at stake here than all the contests we have had so far.

And if Romney does very well then he can put a little bit of daylight in between himself and the rest of the gang. But let's say Rick Santorum wins in Ohio, Tennessee or Oklahoma, the game continues on for a while, I'm sure.

COSTELLO: And Newt Gingrich, he says he is going to stay on and on and on until he absolutely has to get out. He is also attacking Mitt Romney pretty ferociously. Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think you have a three- way race that isn't clear how it is going to work out. I suspect in April or May, you will begin to see some clarity.

Each of us has our own reasons thinking it will be us, but it is not at all clear to me right now that Romney can get above a certain ceiling.

And the question is whether or not ultimately whether his money starts to run out. It is very clear in any kind of relatively evenly financed campaign, Romney would not win.


COSTELLO: OK. That wasn't a ferocious attack, but he was questioning Romney's electability, which people have been doing since the beginning of time.

So, if Newt Gingrich does well in Georgia, and he probably will, who would he hurt down the line? Would it be Rick Santorum or would it be Mitt Romney?

STEINHAUSER: Well, you know, the Romney campaign would love to see Newt Gingrich stay in this race, and here is why, because Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum kind of divide up the conservative vote that only helps Mitt Romney.

So I think Mitt Romney would be very happy if Newt Gingrich wins Georgia, does OK in Tennessee. You can see right there Gingrich doesn't sure sound like a person who's thinking about getting out of the race right now, does he?

COSTELLO: No, I think he is in it for the long haul. Thanks, Paul. We appreciate it.

Tomorrow, Super Tuesday, noon eastern, joins us online, Wolf Blitzer and CNN's political team will host the "CNN Election Round Table." It's an insider chat on the implications of Tuesday's results on the presidential race.

That's at Then join us here on CNN when the votes starts coming in. We'll start with a special edition of "JOHN KING, USA" at 6 p.m. Eastern and at 7:00 Eastern with complete live coverage of the primary results.

Coming up this morning, the debate over Iran's nuclear program, President Obama urging diplomacy. The Israeli prime minister warning a possible military strikes. In the next hour, the men search for common ground.

And in Oregon, this guy jumping into a freezing river to rescue a drowning stranger. We will show you how it all turned out, next.


COSTELLO: Checking stories cross country now. Seven hundred fifty pounds of meth found in one house in San Jose, California. Cops say its street value was $34 million. They found the drugs while investigating some stolen iPads. This one bust equals more than 15 percent of all the meth seized across the country last year.

There are a couple of pretty tough girl scouts in Houston. They were selling, you know, Girl Scout cookies outside a store when two men drove up. One got out, grabbed the girls' cash box and jumped back into the car and that's when the Girl Scouts sprang into action.


IRAVIA COTTON, GIRL SCOUT WHO FOUGHT THE ROBBER: I started hitting the boy that was in the passenger seat. So I think he got, you know, learned his lesson a little bit and then they dragged my friend, Rachel, across the street, you know, driving off real fast.

RACHEL JOHNSON, GIRL SCOUT DRAGGED BY CAR: I hope your face hurts from where Iravia punched you, jerk. I'm serious, one of the girls ran up, bam, so I hope your face hurts and I hope it leaves a scar.


COSTELLO: We don't suggest that kind of behavior but, wow. Those are some tough Girl Scouts. The guys got away. Cops are still investigating.

In Portland, Oregon, a river rescue in freezing cold water. The Good Samaritan was watching a man try to swim across a river when the swimmer began to struggle. The Good Samaritan stripped down. He jumped in, pulled the guy ashore by his jacket and gave him CPR. No word this morning on the victim's condition.

With 66 delegates at stake, Ohio is one of the biggest prizes in tomorrow's Super Tuesday Republican primary. Polls show Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in a dead heat.

Joining me to talk about why Ohio is so crucial is David Leland. He is a fixture in Ohio Democratic Party politics and welcome. We appreciate you being here this morning.


COSTELLO: Good to see you, too. So, are people excited to vote in Ohio?

LELAND: Well, there is a lot of activity here. We have television commercials going round-the-clock, a lot of negative commercials, actually. Most people are beat beating up on each other on the television. I think the only people happy to see that are the local TV stations making a lot of money off this primary campaign.

COSTELLO: That's true. Who are the ads more likely to hurt, Santorum, Romney or someone else? LELAND: Well, I think they are both taking equal shots the each other, I think it is a very close race. I think what ultimately happens though is that you are seeing just a lot of personal negative attacks by both sides.

There's no vision. There's no talking about the future, it just personal negative attacks. I think the ultimate winner out of all of this is probably President Barack Obama.

COSTELLO: OK. So, you're a Democrat, so people would say, come on, Dave, you would say that.

LELAND: Well, that's true. I would say that, but there was a poll that was just taken a couple of days ago that said that 55 percent of all Ohioans, Democrats, independents and Republicans, had a negative view of Mitt Romney and only 27 percent had a positive view.

And I think what that means is that all this negative attack, all these negative commercials, very personal, nasty commercials that are going on in Ohio is taking its toll. And I think Romney is going to have a long way to come back in November -- in the November election.

COSTELLO: There are some who say that Rick Santorum speaks the language better, speaks the language of blue collar voters in Ohio, especially Reagan Democrats. They understand him. They like him, maybe they will vote for him t is an open primary in Ohio, right?

LELAND: Well, I think Santorum does speak to the working class Republicans, Reagan Democrats, as you want to call them. I mean, remember, this was a state that in 2006 nominated very conservative candidate for governor in the 2006 contested primary.

So I think Rick Santorum has got a real shot here in Ohio, although every establishment Republican in the state of Ohio has come out for Romney. I mean, even Barbara Bush did a robocall for him I think the last couple of days.

So the establishment Republicans are really pulling out all of the stops to try to make this happen for Romney, but Santorum's got a real chance here in the state.

COSTELLO: You know, you were mentioning that this whole primary thing might help the Democrat, Barack Obama. The comedian, Bill Maher had this to say about Democrats across the country doing the happy dance because of the supposedly weak Republican field. Let's listen.


BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": Yes, Obama could lose. I often talk about how conservatives are in a bubble, but liberals have their bubble, too.

And inside it, Obama is a shoo-in because the Republicans are just so ridiculously out of touch. Well, they may be out of touch with you, but believe me. They are in touch with your brother-in-law in rural Pennsylvania.


COSTELLO: So does he have a point? Are liberals in a bubble?

LELAND: Well, I don't think any serious person who knows this business understands that this is March and we have a long way to go before any November election. Local polls in Ohio have the president leading by 7 percent now.

But this is just still March. The problem with the Republican message right now is that they are focusing on things like contraception and the debate over whether there should be a distinction between church and state.

And not focussing on the economy and the issues this people really want to talk about and so the longer this goes on in the Republican Party, the better it is for the president.

COSTELLO: You're right. It is early and things could change. They change so quickly.

LELAND: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Especially this year, this campaign season. David Leland, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

LELAND: Thank you and congratulations on your new show.

COSTELLO: Thank you. I appreciate that. Pretty excited myself.

Coming up, CNN goes in depth. Ali Velshi joins us from one Oklahoma oil town that's cashing in big on rising oil prices. Hi, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. I'm in Cushing, Oklahoma, which is the oil pipeline capital of the world. All those pipelines bring oil from fields and go to refineries, cross through Cushing, Oklahoma, it is a prosperous town.

It is a boom town. Oklahoma is also a Super Tuesday state. We will be talking politics and oil when we come back. NEWSROOM is back in a minute.


COSTELLO: Seven advertisers have now bailed on Rush Limbaugh's radio show and the National Organization for Women or NOW, they want him fired.

This all started last week when the conservative talk show host called a Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, a slut because she told Congress insurance companies should cover birth control. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What does it say about the college co-ed, Susan Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute? She wants to be paid to have sex.


COSTELLO: So many people were mad, including those seven advertisers. Limbaugh released a written apology over the weekend. Here is part of it.

He says, quote, "My choice of words was not the best and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices," end quote.

But that is not enough for NOW. Its President Terry O'Neill joins me. Welcome.


COSTELLO: I mean, we rarely hear Rush Limbaugh apologize for anything.

O'NEILL: That is a first. You know, taking Rush Limbaugh off the air, I'm under no illusions. It is not going to end the war against women, but he went so far over the line in attacking an individual, ordinary citizen who all she did wrong was to testify before Congress about the importance of birth control to women's basic health.

And the way he attacked her personally was so far over the line that really, he doesn't belong in part of this conversation. Meanwhile, we are trying to stop the overall war against women and taking him off the air will be a little part of that, but certainly not all of it.

COSTELLO: Well, maybe Rush Limbaugh is waging a war against women, but you know, other conservatives who talk about this birth control issue say it is a religious liberty and they have a point, right?


COSTELLO: Well, you're focusing -- well, they would say they have a point.

O'NEILL: No, I do honestly. I do hear where they are coming from. The problem is that the first amendment both says that there shall be no abridgement of the freedom of religion and it says there shall be no establishment of religion.

So, what's going on with this whole religious conversation about putting birth control in ordinary health insurance plans is this. The Catholic bishops and the fundamentalist Evangelicals have not succeeded in convincing women not to use birth control. They have first amendment right to rail against birth control.


O'NEILL: They don't have a right to use government to do what they can't do.

COSTELLO: Right. So, it is a conversation that we should be having intelligently in this country, right?

O'NEILL: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: So going back to Rush Limbaugh, do you still want the guy fired?

O'NEILL: Sure. Yes. Yes. Because having that conversation about -- about women's health care around the importance of birth control to ordinary health care is not advanced. It is not -- we are not able to have a civilized conversation.

When one of the leading commentators for the conservative Republican Party, right, is out there using this vicious language against an ordinary young woman who simply wanted to testify before Congress. That goes so far beyond the pale that it prevents us from having that intelligent and thoughtful conversation, you know, that we need to have about these issues.

COSTELLO: I know that this isn't the first sexist comment that Rush Limbaugh has made because I have been a victim of Rush Limbaugh myself in that instance.

But I figure he is an entertainer and of course, he might be a voice of the conservative Republican Party in this country, but he doesn't get political figures elected, he is an entertainer. Who cares?

O'NEILL: A lot of people say he does get political figures elected. There are a lot of people who believe he wields an enormous amount of power. And now his so called apology where he says, basically, I was just joking, that's all.

That's really not what he was doing. In fact, when I -- I first read his comments before I actually heard them and I read them and I thought, I haven't seen that kind of language since I was in seventh grade.

It seemed very juvenile and not that big a deal, but when a grown man is saying those things about this law student, really had a very ominous impact to tell you the truth.

COSTELLO: And just the last question for you, because Rush Limbaugh's listeners say that the left suspect being very fair because when MSNBC's Ed Schultz called the radio talk show host Laura Ingram a slut, nobody said fire Ed Schultz.

O'NEILL: There was a big flap about that. I mean, that's really not true. In fact, one of the things that puzzled me when Rush Limbaugh first came out and said what he said, where is the conservative commentators? Now they have come out. George Will has come out and George Will has questioned some politicians, some very conservative politicians for not coming out strongly against Rush Limbaugh. So I think we do come out sometimes.

Sometimes it is a little slow for both sides accusing each other of that, but, yes, no, Ed Schultz got in a lot of trouble for doing that and appropriately so. My organization has repeatedly come.

We have repeatedly criticized those who use inappropriate language against Sarah Palin, against Michele Bachmann as much as against Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. So the tone really matters.

COSTELLO: Terry O'Neill, thanks so much for joining us this afternoon. We appreciate it.

O'NEILL: Thanks, Carol.

COSTELLO: Checking our top stories now. The death toll from a series of tornadoes in five states is now up to 39. Among the victims, an entire Indiana family of five including three small children.

A decision was made yesterday to take the 14-month-old survivor of that family off life support. She died of head injuries.

President Obama's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two leaders will focus on Iran's nuclear program. Israel says it serves the right to defend itself against Iranian threats. The president wants to press diplomacy.

And gas prices are climbing into that $4 mark. Pump prices are up for the 27th straight day, tied to the soaring price of oil. The nationwide average $3.77 a gallon.


COSTELLO: "Political Buzz," is your rapid fire look at the best political topics of the day. Three questions, 30 seconds on the clock. Playing today, Pete Dominick is a political talk show host on Sirius XM radio.

Will Cain is a CNN contributor and Chris Metzler is a professor at Georgetown University. Welcome to all of you. First question, Ron Paul says we shouldn't be so quick to offer money to states after disasters.

And Ohio's governor is holding off asking for federal money, saying his state can assess the damage itself. So, are politics creeping into some of these disaster situations -- Pete?

PETE DOMINICK, POLITICAL TALK SHOW HOST, SIRIUSXM RADIO: Yes, yes they are. I think politics is a disaster situation, maybe FEMA should go in and clean up the capitol, but this is ridiculous. It's really absurd. In Ron Paul's America, you know, kids would wake up the morning after their daddy lost a job and daddy would say go out and pave the roads, get a bucket of asphalt.

You can do it yourself. Of course, I live in New York City on 9/11. The entire country came to our aid and that was a disaster caused by terrorism. A natural disaster -- and we don't come together as Americans and as a government to help these states, help them out of natural disasters?


DOMINICK: It's constitutional.

CHRIS METZLER, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Yes well, I happen to oversee the -- the masters in emergency manage in Georgetown. And one of the things that we teach students is that politics is in part a part of the process.

Look, there is a separation of powers issues so the governor has to make a declaration and then the president acts. Politics has always been and will continue to be part of the whole process of disaster relief. What gets funded and what does not that's the nature of the beast. If we don't like it then we need to change that but it is constitutional. That's the way it works. It is called separation of power, folks.

COSTELLO: That was so professorial. Will?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, it's not a good thing or a bad thing. It's -- I guess it's a political thing. What you would say in John Kasich, the Ohio governor's situation, is he's using FEMA actually as it is intended to be used.

FEMA is there to step in and coordinate activities when you have exhausted your state resources, when you have exhausted your (AUDIO GAP). We'll see what we can handle locally and on a state level if we run out, and then we'll call in FEMA. He says we might call in FEMA. That's exactly how it's intended to be used.

COSTELLO: Ok the second question, in case you missed it, Rush Limbaugh has apologized for his nasty, vile comments about a law student who testified about birth control policy. Here's the short version of that apology. Quote, "My choice of words was not the best" that would be slut, "and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices," end quote.

So here is the question, do you think Rush Limbaugh's apology is sincere? Who should we start with? Let's start with Will.

CAIN: I hope it is, Carol. I mean, it should be. We should be outraged to what Rush Limbaugh said. I -- I -- I'm upset that Rush's portion of this conversation -- Rush's contribution in this conversation has totally hijacked a legitimate debate it has zero understanding around it, whether or not the government should be mandating the voluntary relationship between employers and their employees, these kind of issues, instead we'll just talk about what Rush said.

I do want to say this also, Carol, it's a little hard for me and some conservatives, because while outrage is warranted it does feel selective. You just talked to the chief of now, you know there are many other examples and not just Ed Schultz.

COSTELLO: I got to cut you off.

CAIN: Keith Olbermann and others and I just want the TV outrage to be universal.

COSTELLO: I did, I did I brought that up. And thank you for pointing that out. I appreciate it. Ok so was Rush Limbaugh's apology sincere -- Chris.

METZLER: Well, I take him at his word. It is what it is. But I think there is a larger conversation here. And in fact, Will is 100 percent right. I am so sick and tired of the feigned outrage on the left about this idea of the war against women. Where was the left when there has been vile attacks on conservative women? Laura Ingraham, Monica Crowley? Where is the left then?

And so if we want to have a debate about attacking women it should be a debate about attacking women, not a debate about attacking Rush Limbaugh. That's not the issue.

COSTELLO: Ok so -- so Pete, it's left to you to actually answer the question. Was Rush Limbaugh's apology sincere?

DOMINICK: No. No. Of course not. He would never have apologized if advertisers didn't start leaving him like Kim Kardashian's husbands and boyfriends. I hate to pick on a woman. But listen this -- this is ridiculous, it really is absurd. I am the proud father of two little beautiful girls. I am the very lucky husband of an amazing, strong, intelligent, creative, confident woman.

But we in this country, especially men, have to start standing up for women. Women have been doing it for themselves. More men need to come out and advocate for women and women's issues and this attack on their reproductive rights which seems like the only thing left that women -- men can't control because they don't have ovaries.

COSTELLO: That was a --

METZLER: Pete, that was an attack on you by the buzzer.

DOMINICK: That was fair.

COSTELLO: Ok it is time for our "Buzzer Beater" now. President Obama have changed his Facebook to the new Timeline format, the first image posted on the new pages oh there it is, it's a coffee mug with a copy of his birth certificate on it and the words "Made in America."

So give me your ideas of what some of the GOP candidates should put on their new Timeline Facebook pages -- Chris.

METZLER: Well, I'm going to start with Newt. I think what Newt could do is actually have a picture of himself along with Gladys Knight, "Midnight Train to Georgia". I think that probably would work. So kind of having that in the background, that's going to work well.

For Santorum, I'm not quite sure where the sweater vest was made, but perhaps a history of the sweater vest would really put us all in stead.

COSTELLO: Ok you're on -- this is so fun, Pete?

DOMINICK: Oh, I think that Newt Gingrich needs to update his Timeline with a bumper sticker and a status update, that says, "If you don't like History, Revise it, like me". And I'll help Chris out with a sweater vest. Maybe Santorum could come out with a sweater vest just for women, it's like a one, it snaps and only the man who is married to her can help un-attach it and maybe Mitt Romney should put up a birth certificate that says he wasn't made in a scientific lab. He is very robotic.

COSTELLO: Oh my goodness. Will?

CAIN: Chris and Pete, you guys aren't giving Rick Santorum near enough credit for his fashion populism. You're leaving him and limiting him only to a sweater vest. That line of clothing would include the Bolo for Colorado, the cowboy hat and cowboy boots for Texas, he's got a whole line of fashion populism, not just the vest, boys.

DOMINICK: That's fair, that's fair. Well done.

CAIN: And I would say -- I just want to give you Mitt Romney's, I'll put a dollar bill on that -- that coffee mug, Carol and say "I'm rich, so what?".


DOMINICK: The coffee mug should be a foot that he drinks out of.

COSTELLO: Chris, Pete and Will, thanks for joining us. We're going to see you again tomorrow.

METZLER: Thanks, guys.

COSTELLO: Oil and gas prices keep climbing towards record levels you feel the pinch. One small town though is cashing in on all those nice profits. CNN's chief business correspondent Ali Velshi joins us with the first of his in depth reports.

And Ali, you are in Cushing, Oklahoma, this is the hub of America's oil pipelines. I don't think many Americans actually know that.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No, in fact, a lot of people don't know this. Oil -- Oklahoma is an oil state. The first well in Oklahoma was actually drilled almost 100 years ago today, March 17, 1912, it's the Wheeler Well it's about ten miles east of here and what happened is because of that well there were wells around the area, they started pumping oil, they started building railroads and roads to move that oil. And over time, oil stopped being moved in barrels and on trucks and on trains into being moved by pipe lines and this became the logical place for the pipe line.

So today, Cushing is the oil pipeline crossroads of America. And you know of all -- the Keystone Pipeline that they were talking about building, all of these pipelines come into Cushing and if you buy, you don't need trade oil, trading for $107 a barrel now right now, if you actually took delivery of that oil, most people just trade it but if you actually needed it Cushing is the place you actually get it.

So there are tank storage farms all over the place. The place is booming because there's more oil being produced in America right now. A lot of that oil coming in from Canada, comes into Cushing, so this place is doing very well. People here are steamed about the decision by the Obama administration not to go ahead with that building of that pipeline.

Generally, they feel it's going to get built. They feel there should be more oil produced in the United States because the more that gets drilled in the United States, the more it comes through to Cushing. So today, Cushing doesn't produce as much oil obviously as it used to. We know other areas in the country do but this is where it all comes through. About three times the daily consumption of all the oil in the United States is stored right here in Cushing -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So I would take it the economy there is booming?

VELSHI: It's doing very well, actually. There is a shortage of workers around here. I mean, we know nationally, there's actually a shortage of engineers and -- and oil workers, skilled and unskilled labor. In fact, petroleum engineers -- get this, Carol -- petroleum engineers graduating from school can earn upward of $90,000 a year. It's actually the single most lucrative profession in the United States right now.

So this is an oil town. We've been talking to oil producers, well drillers around here. Things are going very, very well for them. They are a little worried, though. Oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, for that matter, are all worried when the price of oil pushes up too high, because once you get past $100 a barrel it starts to pull demand down, as you know, and they don't want that to happen.

COSTELLO: All right, Ali Velshi from Cushing, Oklahoma, thanks so much.

Just minutes from now, President Obama weighs into a high-stakes debate with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. At issue, how to deal with Iran and its nuclear program? CNN's Wolf Blitzer will join us to set the stage.


COSTELLO: In just a few minutes, President Obama meets with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The stakes are huge, both leaders worried about Iran's nuclear program but the U.S. wants Israel to hold off on any military strikes, at least for now.

Wolf Blitzer here in Atlanta for tomorrow's coverage of the super Tuesday primaries; thanks for joining me. I appreciate it.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S "THE SITUATION ROOM": Good to see you here in Atlanta. Nice to see Carol Costello here.

COSTELLO: I'm pretty excited to be here myself. Instead of talking about Super Tuesday, thought, I want to talk about Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama meeting because this could have big repercussions throughout the world. So, your two leaders, they don't get along all that great, you're concerned about the nuclear thing in Iran. So what -- how does that conversation go?

BLITZER: You know, I'm going to be looking closely, I know you are as well, for the body language, not only the words that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama say when they meet in the Oval Office the next few minutes because all of us remember what happened a year ago when they were in the Oval Office and it certainly appeared that the prime minister was lecturing the President of the United States when it came to Israel's history, concerns, the holocaust and all of that.

And I know for a fact, that so many of the President's advisers later told me how irritated President Obama was at the way that was going on. Having said that, there is too much at stake right now for any personal bitterness or rancor or whatever to get involved; these two countries have a huge stake in what's happening in Iran right now. What's happening in the Middle East.

And they will, I assume, especially in the political election year, as it is here in the United States right now, they will paper all of their personal history behind them and they will have the smiles and the best foot forward.

COSTELLO: Well, let's talk about -- I mean President Obama is in the middle of presidential election and we know that the Republicans are a bit more hawkish than President Obama.


COSTELLO: Ok. A lot. A lot more. So, how does he temper that when Benjamin Netanyahu can obviously use the Republican side in this country because he is pretty hawkish himself?

BLITZER: The President yesterday went before a very powerful pro-Israeli lobbying organization, APAC. And delivered a very positive, pro-Israel speech. I don't think the Israelis looking historically over 60 years could have dreamt that a President of the United States would be saying such things about Israel and it was -- from Israel's perspective, was very, very pro-Israel. Having said that, there are differences between the U.S., between the Obama Administration and the Netanyahu government on a whole host of issues, not only on some of the tactics as far as Iran is concerned but on the peace process, if there ever were a peace process again.

Settlement activity of the Israelis in the West Bank, for example, going back to the pre-67 lines with mutually agreed adjustments, if you will. So, there are differences but having said that, the military-to-military cooperation and the intelligence-to- intelligence cooperation between the U.S. are very strong right now and the U.S. military assistance has increased during the Obama Administration, which, of course is what the Israelis are happy about.

COSTELLO: So, what is the best outcome for President Obama?

BLITZER: I think the best outcome is that they get on the same page. Now, I've always been convinced that there's a good cop/bad cop routine here. They are trying to strengthen the international community and trying to convince the Iranians to back off from a nuclear bomb, if you will. I don't know how close they are in terms of capability, whatever. But I think to a certain degree, the Israelis being very, very tough and saying it is only a few months away or whatever, that puts pressure on the Iranians and at the same time, the good cop, the U.S. Is saying, you know what; there are still options in terms of diplomacy and sanctions and military action that's down the road, if necessary, but that's the last option, as is always the case.

So, I think they are pretty -- they are coordinating their strategies, although there are complications because when the Israelis suggest in interviews with reporters or whatever, April, May or June, they may be striking, it does have a tendency to, you know, increase the price of oil, you know, and that has political ramifications, economic ramifications in the U.S. and in Europe. So there's a lot going on here.

COOPER: Hopefully we will know more in the next few minutes. Because President Obama.

We will know more in the next few minutes, they are going to go into the Oval Office. The pool cameras will be in there we will hear what they have to say, then they will bring the tape out, we will play it and all of our viewers will hear at the same time.

COSTELLO: You will be here again. Thank you, Wolf. Appreciate it.

Tomorrow could change everything in Republican the Republican presidential race. Ohio is the most crucial prize on super Tuesday. Next, I will talk to a conservative Republican voter, one who has already made up her mind on how she is going to vote.


COSTELLO: Back to politics now, Ohio could be the most crucial state in the GOP Presidential campaign's most crucial day, Super Tuesday, and that would be tomorrow. Well the latest poll from the state shows a dead heat. You can see Mitt Romney has reversed Rick Santorum's lead over the last week.

We want to bring in Shannon Harkey Meyer, she's a conservative Republican voter who lives in Boehner country, right outside of Cincinnati that is actually where I met you in 2010, we were at a Boehner rally -- Tea Party rally and you were there pumped up about election 2010. Are you as pumped up this time?

SHANNON HARKEY MEYER, CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN VOTER: Of course. The election's critical. We have got to really work hard as conservatives to bring back our country to the constitution.

COSTELLO: So who are you --

MEYER: And I think that a good start is --

COSTELLO: I was just going to jump the gun. Wait a second. We are both talking -- I was just going to jump the gun and ask you who you were going to vote for.

MEYER: My vote tomorrow is going to go towards Rick Santorum. I was very torn. I also like Newt Gingrich and I could deal with Romney as well and Ron Paul has his good points, too. But I think overall my best choice for tomorrow is going to be Rick Santorum.

COSTELLO: Some analysts say his focus on social issues is a turnoff for many voters. They are not a turnoff for you?

MEYER: I do think that the social issues are important and I like his stances on those. The other thing, too, about Rick Santorum is I think he brings a lot more to the table than just the socialist issue piece.

I was looking last night at his made for -- made in America plan and it has a lot of good points in it that can help us bring back energy independence, the economy, growth, employment and manufacturing. So I would like to see more of that, too and I think he does offer that, not just the social piece.

COSTELLO: You're into being fiscally responsible, too with a balanced budget, right?

MEYER: Absolutely.

There is one concern that you might have with Rick Santorum's economic plan. The committee for responsible federal budget last week found his plan would actually add $4.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. Does that concern you?

MEYER: Of course it does and I think that if that is the case he needs to take a better look at that and possibly put some other details into that plan.

However, I think that one of the big things that we can do for our country is to bring about energy independence and his plan does look at that. And if we can get energy independence and also the growth that comes from that out in the west and with drilling and whatnot, then we can help to bring about a stronger economy, which I would hope that would also offset any -- any changes to the plan.

COSTELLO: Shannon, thank you for being with us today. We appreciate it.

MEYER: Thank you.

COSTELLO: New hope for diabetes patients. Up next, how an experimental device could give them and their families more of a worry-free future. Actually it is pretty amazing -- pancreas, man made. We will tell you about it next.


COSTELLO: It is being called a game changer for the nearly 5 million diabetics in this country who use insulin, type I diabetic. Artificial pancreas was used in a new study that actually gave patients a break from insulin-testing and injections.

Elizabeth Cohen is here with the story of one young girl who was the first person to try this out. This isn't something you implant on your body, It's something you wear on the outside.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Elle Shaheen was one of the first people to try this out. She's 12 years old. She has type I diabetes. And so, ever since she was diagnosed at age 8, she's had to prick her finger, Carol, 12 times a day and then she has give herself insulin and then sometimes she has these sugar lows. Her mother wakes up every three hours in the middle of the night in order to see if she is hitting a sugar low. You can see her, Elle, here with her mom, Stephanie, at home.

And so I said she does this 10 to 12 times a day. And so she joined a trial where they gave her an artificial pancreas, it is not, as you said, not inside, is outside. And what this did is it gave her a vacation from diabetes. The device detected what her blood sugar was and then gave her the appropriate amount of insulin or the appropriate amount of glucose if she needed it. That thing around her neck, the black bag, that's where parts of the artificial pancreas are. We spoke to Elle earlier this morning, see what she has to say about her three-day experience.


ELLE SHAHEEN, HAS DIABETES: It is really hard to go to sleepovers and birthday parties. I won't have to test my blood sugar, estimate how much insulin I have to take.


COEHEN: Now, Elie was unhappy that she had to leave the artificial pancreas behind in the hospital but that's how experimental it is that she can't take it home with her, it was only for use for three days in the hospital. COSTELLO: So when might this become available for all type I diabetics?

COHEN: You know, Doctors are hoping four years from now or so, which a relatively short amount of time but they are really hoping for that and type ii diabetics who use insulin.

COSTELLO: Elizabeth Cohen, many thanks.

COHEN: Thanks.

COSTELLO: Take a quick break. We will be right back.


COSTELLO: Stories we are working on later today.

At 12:30 Eastern, the TSA will outline its strategy for dealing with counterterrorism and improving airline security.

Then at 2:30 Eastern, a congressional panel will hear how China sends back North Korean refugees who often face punishment and execution.

And at 5:30 Eastern , Attorney General Eric Holder will talk about last year's the killing of American Anwar al Awlaki, a man with terrorist ties.

Let's toss it over to Kyra Phillips. Where are you, Kyra, anyway?

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Down in the newsroom. Come visit. We're in here right in the middle of all the action. Please.

COSTELLO: I'll be there directly.

PHILLIPS: Stop by for a cup of coffee. Thanks Carol.