Return to Transcripts main page


Puerto Rico Votes in Primary Today; U.S. Teacher Reportedly Killed in Yemen; Soldier Mystery Deepens; Gas Prices Creep Even Higher; One to Two Feet of Snow Falling on Arizona; Accused Soldier Not Yet Charged; Car Bomb Blast Rocks Syrian City; Germany Swears in New President; St. Patty's Party Turns Ugly; GOP Focuses on Puerto Rico, Illinois; Famous "I Quit" Moments; Storm Closes Arizona Interstate; Soccer Star's Heart Stops, Restarts

Aired March 18, 2012 - 14:30   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Puerto Rico is in the spotlight today in the Republican race for the White House. Voters are heading to the polls in the Caribbean Islands primary right now. Twenty delegates are up for grabs. We'll have results just in time for our special election coverage that begins at 4:00 Eastern time today.

In Yemen, an American teacher is shot and killed. That's according to two Yemeni Defense Ministry officials. The U.S. Embassy hasn't independently confirmed the story, but they are investigation. An al Qaeda affiliate says it is behind the attack.

More questions right now about the alleged abduction and release of an American in Iraq. Yesterday, a Shiite militia loyal to Moqtada Al- Sadr announced it was releasing a U.S. soldier identified as Rand Michael Holtz.

But no one appear to know he was missing for nine months. Holtz says he was a former soldier working as a civilian contractor in Iraq. U.S. officials said all missing soldiers had been accounted for and no civilian was recently reported missing.

In this country, gas prices go up for the ninth straight day. The price of a gallon is now on average close to $3.84, but some big cities are already seeing gas prices average more than $4 a gallon. The record high was $4.11 a gallon back in July of 2008.

And extreme weather, while most of the U.S. enjoys unseasonably warm weather, a look at what is going on in northern Arizona, a late winter storm is dropping between one and two feet of snow in the area around flagstaff.

Winds are gusting to 55 miles an hour and roads, of course, are closing. The regent snow plows are working overtime. Our Jacqui Jeras is watching this one. She'll be joining us with the latest on the storm in about 20 minutes from now.

All right, this will be a significant week for the U.S. Army staff sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians. Robert Bales is expected to meet with his legal defense team for the first time and he may be formally charged by the U.S. military in the shooting deaths of those men, women, and children in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Today, Sergeant Bales is in a military prison, in solitary confinement. Let's go now to joint base Lewis-McCord in Washington State. That's where Staff Sergeant Robert Bales has been stationed for several years now.

Dan Simon is there for us. So, Dan, what more do we know about Robert Bales and what the week looks like for him?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. You know, the portrait that has emerged thus far is a soldier who may have been under significant emotional and physical strain after having served four war tours over the last ten years.

We also have a picture that this is somebody who faced enormous financial pressures. His wife, for example, put their home up for sale at a price significantly less than what they paid for it.

A former neighbor also tells CNN that they didn't pay their homeowners association fees for like three or four years and that their condo was basically in a state of disrepair.

Bales, meanwhile, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, and his former high school friends described him as a patriot and someone deeply moved by 9/11. Take a look.


ROBERT DURHAM, BALES' HOMETOWN FRIEND, NEIGHBOR: I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. I can't believe it. The Bobby that I knew is not the Bobby that could have done that. He'll never be the same and he's such a great person. That just crushes me. I don't know. I think everyone has the same question because everyone knew the same Bobby. What happened?


SIMON: As you mentioned, his attorney is on his way to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to meet with his client. John Henry Browne put out a statement yesterday basically saying that the family was stunned by the allegations. But at this point, they stand firmly behind him as a devoted husband and father and someone who served this country since 2001 -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: So Dan, a lot of people who are on that base who don't know Sergeant Bales have been very reluctant to talk about this care all the way around.

Do you still find that people are really resistant, really reluctant to express their opinions about what happened? What allegedly happened and what could happen next?

SIMON: Well, it's true for those in the military. They are under strict guidelines not to talk to the media. That's pretty standard in a case like this. But, you know, we have heard from people who know him, particularly neighbors who say that, you know, seemingly, he was incapable of doing something like this.

But in terms of getting statements and comments from people who served with him in the military, at this point, they're just not talking to us.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much. Dan Simon, appreciate that.

All right, so we are learning more about Sergeant Bales through the words of his wife. Caroline Bales kept a blog where she wrote about living the military family life, according to the "New York Times" reporting and on the frustration of her husband being denied a promotion.

Caroline Bales writes, it is very disappointing, quote, "after all of the work Bob has done and all the sacrifices he had made for his love of his country, family and friends," end quote. And on missing her deployed husband in Iraq, she also writes this.

Quote, "I only want the days to go by fast when it comes to Bob coming back home." We've also gotten this statement from Bales' defense attorneys saying, this.

Quote, "Sergeant Bales' family is stunned in the face of this tragedy, but they stand behind the man they know as a devoted husband, father, and dedicated member of the armed services," end quote.

All right, we're also going to show you a lot of people enjoyed the St. Paddy's Day weekend. It got way out of hand in Canada. People set fires, threw stuff at the police, and officials say it looked like a war zone. Full details next.


WHITFIELD: All right, some headlines overseas today. A massive car bomb explodes in Syria's second largest city. Opposition activists say three people were killed.

The blast in the city of Alepo ripped the front of an apartment building off and dozens of people were killed yesterday in a series of explosions in Damascus. Government officials and anti-regime protesters blamed each other for the bombings.

And Germany has a new president. Joachim Gauck was sworn in today in Berlin. The president sits largely a ceremonial office in Germany. His predecessor resigned over a financial scandal.

And police in Canada shutdown the St. Patrick's Day party last night in London, Ontario, when it got very rowdy. Witnesses say partiers set fires, overthrew cars and threw bottles at police officers. Several people were arrested. The police chief said he's never seen so much violence and vandalism.

The Republican race for president is centered in Puerto Rico and Illinois right now. Today is primary day in Puerto Rico and then on Tuesday, Republican voters in Illinois get their turn.

Let's bring in CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. She's in Washington. Good to see you, Candy. So you interviewed Rick Santorum today on "STATE OF THE UNION" and before we begin a discussion about was and wasn't said, let's go ahead listen to a small portion.


RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If Governor Romney thinks that he is the CEO of America and can run and manage the economy. He doesn't understand what conservatives believe in. We don't want someone in Washington to manage the economy.

We want someone to get Washington out of our lives to reduce these mandates, get rid of things like Romneycare at the federal level, which we call Obamacare and do some things to get this economy going by believing in the private sectors. Something that Governor Romney has shown no indication he's in favor of.


WHITFIELD: So, Candy, Rick Santorum speaking very confidently that he is the voice and he is the face of conservatism. How might the outcome in Puerto Rico be for him?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think going into Puerto Rico you would have to give the advantage to Mitt Romney. He had the endorsement of the governor there.

But more than that, it just was more of a Mitt Romney kind of place and then Rick Santorum went down there and started talking about -- well, if Puerto Rico wants statehood, they need to declare English as their official language right now, as English and Spanish.

That did not help him down there. So I think that we would be surprised if Mitt Romney did not win in Puerto Rico.

WHITFIELD: OK. Going into Tuesday, Illinois. By the way, we should have results somewhere in that 4:00 Eastern hour. You're going to join us later on today.

CROWLEY: Hopefully, yes.

WHITFIELD: Hopefully once those polls close in Puerto Rico at 4:00. So then, you know, most candidates might want the result of one race to help better poise them for the next. Puerto Rico, Illinois, extremely different, perhaps Rick Santorum is going into Illinois feeling a little bit more confident than he would have in Puerto Rico.

CROWLEY: Well, you know, maybe. Listen, there is a fairly sizeable contingent of Evangelical voters that have been very good for Rick Santorum in a lot of these places particularly the south.

But in general, I think the state is looking better for Mitt Romney. We look back at the exit polls from the last primary with John McCain and found that something like about 46 percent of Republican voters in that primary identified themselves as Evangelicals.

What was interesting to me was that more voted for Mitt Romney and John McCain, who are not considered favorite of Christian conservatives than did Mike Huckabee who is running at the time and was the favorite of the Christian conservative.

So may be a different kind of Evangelical voter that what we are seeing in Illinois. Nonetheless, we're looking at the polls and the polls, at this point. Romney is a bit outside the margin of error and leading.

I think it will be another close contest because that's what we've seen. Romney would really like to put it away here, but I think we're in for a longer haul in this.

WHITFIELD: All right, Candy Crowley, thanks so much. We'll see you again a couple of hours, 4:00 Eastern Time. Everybody join us for that entire hour dedicated to the presidential contenders in the 2012 election. Hopefully, we'll have some results for you for the Puerto Rico race, 4:00 Eastern Time today.

All right, a top Goldman Sachs exec quits his job in a very big way. He writes a nasty resignation letter that goes viral. Debra Shigley joins me next to chat about how to quit with grace.


WHITFIELD: All right, quitting your job can be a very scary thing to do. If you want to take that step, there is a right and wrong way to do it. You may remember some of these famous quitting moments.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, don't worry, don't worry. I'm not going to do what you all think I'm going to do, which is just flip out. Who's coming with me? Who's coming with me? Who's coming with me besides flipper here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never been a quitter. Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Management wants you gone by the end of the day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, just what sort of severance package is management prepared to offer me considering the information I have about our editorial director, which I think would interest the IRS since is constitutes fraud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, you are one twisted --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope. I'm just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose.


WHITFIELD: All right, all pretty memorable. You may not want to try that at home. Debra Shigley is editor at large at the So we all know that former Goldman Sachs Executive Director, Greg Smith, he quit in a very big way by writing this op-ed.

A pretty explosive resignation article in the "New York Times" so not everyone can get away with that. He can because he's a big cheese, perhaps, right?

DEBRA SHIGLEY, EDITOR AT LARGE, THEGRINDSTONE.COM: Exactly. And you the "New York Times" platform, which pretty much legitimizes it. But most of the time this happens, the employee can still a little disgruntled, bitter, perhaps unstable and the fleeting satisfaction that you have is really not worth the price in terms of your long-term career.

WHITFIELD: But honestly, a lot of people do fantasize about kind of going out with a big bang. So let's breakdown kind of if you are going to go out, whether it's voluntary or not, maybe the way that you would best advise people to do.

SHIGLEY: Absolutely. I mean, typically, first of all, like the situation with Greg Smith. If you do have a legitimate complaint, like a corporate culture grievance, you might want to air those in the appropriate form.

For example, let's say if it's corruption or discrimination something like that, you want to talk to a lawyer before you quit because in certain situations, there are actions available to you if it is a legitimate real thing that goes beyond level of a normal kind of employee grievance.

So just keep that in mind. But generally speaking, we want to go for a two to four weeks' notice. You want to not quit until the moment that you actually quit. That means don't tell everybody you're quitting before you actually have given your resignation to your boss because those kinds of things tend to get around to the boss before we want them to, right?

WHITFIELD: Yes. And you say you've got to stay engaged until the end. Let's say you've give and then two-week notice and your last day is coming. But you want to give it your all, all the way. You don't want to slack and say, I'm counting down the days and I really don't have to apply myself. Don't do that.

SHIGLEY: Absolutely. The temptation is there, but don't treat yourself as a lame duck because you're still a member of the team and you want to show up until the very moment you leave.

WHITFIELD: OK, and then you want to stay in touch with colleagues in what way, to what degree? Sometimes, you know, people quit, but it seems that they are still there. I don't know if that is good career- wise. Which is it?

SHIGLEY: Well, don't totally disappear, right. You to make sure to leave -- first of all, your contact information, where you're going to be, and also any records of your particular job that may be useful to somebody else coming into that role. But nowadays with professional networking sites, LinkedIn, Facebook, obviously update your status on where you're going to be and keep people in the loop of your new opportunities because it's a small world and we all -- especially similar industries, you cross paths again. It's all the more reason not to burn those bridges with your reply all angry e-mail.

WHITFIELD: Right, reputation really is everything and it does kind of precede you, doesn't it?

SHIGLEY: It absolutely does.

WHITFIELD: All right, Debra Shigley, thanks so much. Great advice. If you know a notice is coming or if you want to give notice, do it the right way. All right, thanks a lot.

All right, Northern Arizona needs to thaw out before it can ring in spring. Just two days away. Can you believe it? Check out this heavy snow in flagstaff, of all places. We'll find out how much of that snow they are expecting to see.


WHITFIELD: Heavy snow and gusty winds close 180 miles of interstate in Northern Arizona. I-40 is shutdown in both directions and you can see why right here. Some of the area of flagstaff could actually see as much as three feet of snow. That is remarkable.

Talk about winter going out with a big bang. Parts of Interstate 17 and some state roads are also closed for very obvious reasons. OK, Jacqui Jeras is with us now. My goodness, what a big bang for this winter.

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I know. You know, we've been talking so much about the record heat across parts of the east, but really the west --

WHITFIELD: It's winter in some places.

JERAS: Right, but this is where it's been across parts of the west. They had four feet of snow yesterday in 24 hours in parts of the sierra and this is the snow that has been coming down and this is the area right here where the interstate is closed at 180 miles, so to speak, because the snow has been very heavy, visibility is very, very poor.

Here are a couple of snowfall totals, all from Arizona. The snow bowl, 19 inches, 14 there at Fort Valley, Belmont at 11 inches, Prescott had 10 inches and flagstaff airport around 4.5 inches. But in general around the flagstaff area you've seen anywhere between 10 and 14 inches.

So that was a little more widespread. Now we could be looking at several feet total before all is said and done. So travel expected to remain really hazardous here. So this is the big picture. You can see the snow continue across much of the west. We're seeing to start to pick up into the Rockies as well. You guys can see the highest numbers over a foot potentially in the higher elevations. Now we have other issues with this system going on ahead of the front and that's going to be a real concern in parts of the plain states for today.

First of all, we'll talk about the winds, which will be very strong, gusting to around 50 miles plus per hour. In this orange areas where we have critical fire danger so use a lot of caution. No outdoor burning today. Not a good idea.

In the red area, that where we're expecting severe thunderstorms to develop later on this afternoon across parts of Texas into Western Oklahoma and into Kansas and into parts of Nebraska.

This is a very slow-moving upper level system that we're talking about. So we're looking at days ahead of seeing strong to severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall that will likely cause some big time flooding problems.

WHITFIELD: Big extremes. All right, thanks so much. We're about to welcome in spring. I can't believe it, in just two days.

JERAS: It's been here for weeks.

WHITFIELD: That's true. All right, thanks so much, Jacqui.

All right, the lawyers representing Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales say they intend to meet with him this week. Bales is the soldier accused of killing 16 civilian men, women and children last weekend in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Today, he remains in solitary confinement at Fort Leavenworth. He has not been formally charged.

An update now on the alleged abduction and release of an American in Iraq. We now know his name is Randy Michael Holtz and he has been transferred to the embassy in Baghdad.

Embassy officials say he was in Baghdad on private business. They say he is not an active duty soldier or a contractor. Yesterday, a Shiite militia loyal Moqtada Al-Sadr announced it was releasing a U.S. soldier. Holtz identified himself as a former soldier working as a civilian contractor.

All right, some pretty scary moments on a London soccer field. The 23-year-old Febrice Moamba is in critical condition after going into cardiac arrest during a match. You're about to see him.

His team said he received prolonged resuscitation on the ground and on the way to the hospital, which actually restarded his heart. You can see there, a lot of the other shocked soccer players and fans who were grieving and certainly hoping for the best.

All right, I'll be back in an hour with our focus on the 2012 contenders. Puerto Rico has 20 delegates up for grabs today in its primary. Newt Gingrich's daughter says the delegates count doesn't matter. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACKIE CUSHMAN, NEWT GINGRICH'S DAUGHTER: I think we've been caught up in the media of who should do what and until a candidate pulls out, they are in the race.

And secondarily, it's not just about winning the delegate if you're Newt Gingrich. If no one, if Mitt Romney nor Senator Santorum can get the 1,144 that you mentioned then that means that the convention is wide open. You have a contested convention where anything can happen.


WHITFIELD: All right, the race for the nomination is on. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. "YOUR MONEY" starts right after this.