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Pope Benedict XVI Resigns; California Manhunt Continues; Pope Benedict XVI Resigns; Study: Millions of Credit Reports Have Errors; A 75-Mile Path Of Destruction; Cowboys Stadium Pays Tribute To Kyle; "There's No Toilets, There's No Power"

Aired February 11, 2013 - 16:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: a Vatican bombshell felt around the world. The pope resigns.

Life on high alert in Southern California right now, where there's a million-dollar reward for the ex-police officer suspected of multiple murders.

And stunning revelations about the death of Osama bin Laden from the U.S. Navy SEAL who took him out.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

All that coming up, but there's also developments happening right now in Southern California, frayed nerves and a cold trail, as investigators search for the fired Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner, who's declared war on the police, now wanted in the murders of three people.

We're standing by for a news conference. The prosecutor in this case is going to be giving us new information.

But let's check in with CNN's Miguel Marquez in Los Angeles for an update on what is going on.

Miguel, do police have any serious clues right now?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not for lack of trying. They are trying to create those clues. They say they have 600 clues that hundreds of investigators are trying to pile through. But right now, people are very nervous across the entire state.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Nervous students return. Schools finally reopened in Big Bear.

JONAH DELACHICA, STUDENT: There's a bad guy on the loose and we don't want to get shot by him.

MARQUEZ: Today, it's security, along with students.

LILIAN AYALA, GRANDMOTHER: Today, we feel much better. There's a lot of -- you can see a lot of police presence out here. MARQUEZ: It's the Southern California new normal, life on high alert.

ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D), MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: We will not tolerate this reign of terror that has robbed us of the peace of mind that residents of Southern California deserve.

MARQUEZ: The search for Dorner stretching from Nevada to the Mexican border and now a warning from TSA to regional airports and airplane owners, Dorner has some flying experience, authorities concerned about an escape attempt or threat from the air.

Los Angeles police headquarters and its stations across the city remain under guard, the homes of more than 50 LAPD families threatened in Dorner's manifesto protected by police 24 hours a day, no end until the alleged killer is found.

CHARLIE BECK, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, POLICE CHIEF: We will capture Dorner. We will bring him to justice.

MARQUEZ: Investigators say the axle on Dorner's truck broke. He left weapons and camping gear behind, torching it all, perhaps a sign his plans went awry, forced to change course. In the mountains east of Los Angeles, some 600 cabins searched, that trail now cold.

Dorner sightings pouring in. A Los Angeles Lowe's home store was emptied Sunday after a false alarm. Shoppers forced out single file. Heavy police response. No Dorner, but plenty of frayed nerves.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Now, LAPD saying their tactical alert has now been taken down for the moment at least because they have -- they don't have so many calls around the Dorner issue and they're able to handle everything but at the moment it's a huge expense for this agency to keep those 50 families under 24-hour protection -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Miguel, hold on for a moment. The prosecutor, the Riverside County district attorney, Paul Zellerbach, is briefing reporters right now. I just want to hear what he's got to say.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

PAUL ZELLERBACH, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ... shot at in the city of Corona in our county and then the surviving officer from the Riverside Police Department. So those are the three additional counts for a total of four separate charges.

I would like to identify the persons who are on stage with me this afternoon. To my left, we Captain Tom Weeks, who is here on the behalf of the Corona Police Department. I'm sorry, Jose Perez, who is a deputy chief with the L.A. Police Department, Sergio Diaz, the Riverside Police Department chief, and Michael Moriarty, who is a chief in my bureau of investigation.

Along with my filing of the criminal complaint this morning, we also have obtained a no bail arrest warrant for this individual's apprehension. This individual, by both his words and conduct, has made it very clear to all of us that every law enforcement officer in Southern California is in danger of being shot or killed.

Every day, our law enforcement officers patrol our communities to protect us, as citizens, to keep us safe. Now it is our opportunity, as citizens, to assist our law enforcement officers in the apprehension of this individual. As they say, there is strength in numbers.

We need the help of the public. We need all of the public's eyes and ears in assisting law enforcement in apprehending this very dangerous individual. A centralized command center has been established to support law enforcement's ongoing efforts to apprehend this individual.

There are also numerous tip lines that have been established so that the public can contact law enforcement both in Los Angeles, Orange County and Riverside County. And, as most of you know, there has been a $1 million reward established for the arrest and apprehension and conviction of Mr. Dorner to assist us in bringing him to justice.

I would like to recognize all of the law enforcement agencies that are working together cooperatively in this continuing investigation, obviously, the Riverside Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Irvine Police Department, the Corona Police Department, the (INAUDIBLE) Sheriff's Department, Riverside Sheriff's Department, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service.

BLITZER: You can see there's a huge manhunt under way in Southern California right now. This is the Riverside County district attorney, Paul Zellerbach, who is briefing reporters on the charges that are likely to be filed against this suspect if, in fact, he is apprehended.

Miguel Marquez has been covering this story from the beginning.

I assume, Miguel, folks in L.A. and Southern California all the way down to San Diego, they remain on edge.

MARQUEZ: Very much so. There were even some reports of out of Phoenix, Arizona, today that there was a Dorner sighting. This is really gripping people across the entire Southwest now.

Part of the reason that the DA came out today to announce these charges, which is a little different, before you even have the person in custody, they want to turn up the heat as much as possible. They want to reassure the public that they are doing everything they can to get this guy and that once he is in custody, if he's even alive at this point, he will be -- you know, have the full weight of the law come down on him -- Wolf.

BLITZER: When you say if he's alive at this point, Miguel, explain what you mean by that. Is there some suspicion he may have killed himself? I mean, what's going on? MARQUEZ: Well, either could have killed himself or got caught in very bad weather up in the mountains there near Big Bear. Keep in mind that the axle to his truck was broken. He burned guns and camping gear in that truck. It suggests, to investigators that he may have been forced off of his script and was forced into the woods essentially and you would not have survived a night in those woods unless you had prepared very, very well for it ahead of time. There's no indication he had done that at this point. Wolf.

BLITZER: Miguel Marquez on the story for us, Miguel, thanks very much.

In our next hour, I will speak live with the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We will get an update from him on this manhunt that's causing a lot, a lot of problems obviously.

Other news we're following, it's an event so rare that the last time it happened was some 600 years ago. Pope Benedict XVI says he will resign at the end of this month after only eight years as leader of the world's one billion Roman Catholics.

He says it's because of his age and his health. And now the question being asked around the world, who will be the next pope?

We're watching what's going on. We have several correspondents in Rome. Pope Benedict's papacy has been marked by serious controversies, especially the sex abuse scandal and his prior role as the church's lead investigator personally handling every single case that made its way to the Vatican.

CNN's Brian Todd is working this part of the story for us.

Brian, we're going to go to Rome in just a few moments, but tell us what's going on.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, here at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, they were shocked as anyone at the pope's announcement of his resignation. This is the spot where it was one of the most-talked about moments of his visit to the United States almost five years ago, the place where he addressed one of the biggest controversies of his tenure and there was certainly no shortage of those during his papacy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): The scrutiny began before he even assumed the papacy. For decades before his elevation, when he was Cardinal John Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI had worked as the Vatican's chief investigator into allegations of sex abuse by priests.

COLM O'GORMAN, ABUSE SURVIVOR: In 2001, he wrote to every bishop in the world telling them in the letter that every case of a priest who abused a child was to be referred to his department at the Vatican. TODD: But critics said as a cardinal Benedict was part of a system of cover-ups of abuse and the practice of moving priests from parish to parish to avoid trouble. I spoke with Tom Roberts of "The National Catholic Reporter," an independent newspaper.

(on camera): Was that fair? Was he part of the problem?

TOM ROBERTS, "THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER": I think as part of the general clergy culture, yes. There was one incident that was highlighted even after he became pope about when he was a bishop in Germany, where he knew of accusations against a priest and really didn't act against it.

TODD (voice-over): But later during his 2008 visit to the United States, Pope Benedict addressed the issue directly, visiting with abuse victims.

(on camera): It was during that period that he vowed to take on crimes of abuse more directly. And right here at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, one of the biggest Catholic Churches in the Americas, Benedict made an extraordinary request.

POPE BENEDICT XVI, LEADER OF CATHOLIC CHURCH: We do insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again.

TODD (voice-over): A more extensive apology came later that year in Australia where Benedict used the words unequivocal condemnation. There were other controversies. The year after he was elevated, the pope quoted a Byzantine emperor's words saying the Prophet Mohammed had brought -- quote -- "things only evil and inhuman."

That touched off outrage and protest in the Muslim world. Benedict later clarified, saying those weren't his personal views. Last year, the pope's butler was convicted of stealing and leaking documents exposing corruption and disorganization at the Vatican. Pope Benedict also carries the stigma of not being as popular a figure as his predecessor, John Paul II.

But the monsignor of the shrine in Washington puts it into perspective.

MONSIGNOR VITO BUONANNO, BASILICA OF THE NATIONAL SHRINE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: Christ was controversial. The things that Jesus did, the way that he reached out to people, the way he talked to people, the types of people that he talked to, it upset many, many people.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: And Tom Roberts points out that Pope Benedict will be remembered as well for doing more to actually address the abuse scandal than his predecessor, John Paul II, ever did -- Wolf. BLITZER: As you know, Pope Benedict was also involved in a controversy in the United States over the actions of some American nuns. Remind our viewers about this.

TODD: That's right.

Not long ago, some American nuns challenged the church's teachings on homosexuality, on the male-only priesthood. They had supported Obama's health care plan when the church had spoken out against it. These Vatican had appointed a bishop to kind of investigate these nuns. They ended up being reprimanded. But the nuns got a lot of support within the United States for their actions.

It was controversial for the pope. He was kind of also prompted to do that by some pressure from conservative religious figures in the United States. So that ended up being one of the more controversial moments of his papacy and it had to do, of course, with quite a few popular American nuns here in the United States.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much.

And later here in THE SITUATION ROOM, I will speak with Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He is in Rome right now and he's got some unique perspectives on what's going on, also Bishop David O'Connell, the former president the Catholic University of America -- much more on this story coming up.

Let's get some more, though, right now on Pope Benedict XVI. He was born Joseph Ratzinger in 1927 in Germany. He became a cardinal in 1977. He was chief theological adviser to Pope John Paul II. Following the death of John Paul, he was elected pope in 2005. He was then 78 years old, the oldest person to become pope in almost 300 years.

Little has been said publicly about his health, which made his resignation today even more surprising, since he said his strength has deteriorated recently. Once again, much more on this story coming up, the shocking resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. I will talk, among other things, to the man who introduced me to the Holy Father here in Washington back in 2000. Stand by for that interview.

And a 75-mile path of destruction across three counties. We will hear from people who lived through this devastating tornado.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's get more now on the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. He stunned all of us. Indeed, he stunned the world, with his announcement this morning.

Let's go to Rome. CNN's Jim Bittermann is standing by.

Jim, he says he's going to resign at the end of this month. So, what -- what is the timeline for electing a new pontiff?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we really don't know that, Wolf, because this is so different from what, anything else that's happened in the past. Basically, the only hints we've gotten is from the Vatican spokesman who said basically there will be a new Pope before Easter. Well, that's 31st March. And he also said there will be no conclave to elect a new Pope before the present officially Pope resigns, and that's the 28th of February.

So somewhere between the 1st of March and the 31st of March, the 118 cardinals will gather here and elect a new pope. Now, one of the things that's different from this from previous occasion, when you have a Pope that's died, in fact, there's a period of mourning. So, the cardinals have time to gather. This time around, the time to gather for the cardinals is -- basically the clock has started running when the Pope made his announcement this morning. They can start making their travel plans. They could be here by the 1st of March, Wolf.

BLITZER: So, they'll meet in the 1st of March and let's say by the end of March, by Easter, they've come up with someone who will be the new pontiff. So what's been the reaction there at the Vatican? Was everybody stunned by this or were those inner circle folks basically aware of what Pope Benedict XVI was about to do?

BITTERMANN: I think it was a real stunner. Although some people said that he had talked to his brother about the possibility of resigning. He had also said, himself, when he was still a cardinal, he said that when a Pope gets very ill, he probably shouldn't stay in office, he should consider resigning. And I think that's what he's applying in his own case.

I mean, one of the things that's interesting about this, Wolf, too, in terms of the time line, going back to that for a second, is the fact that usually while a Pope is lying in state here, there's a period of a week or 10 days of mourning in which the cardinals get together in small groups and they talk among themselves, they kind of size each other up and they kind of decide who might be papal material and that sort of thing. That might not happen this time around if all the cardinals fly in and they immediately go into a conclave. And the conclave itself can be very short.

In the case of Benedict XVI, it was only 24 hours. He was basically elected after the fourth ballot, Wolf.

BLITZER: We're going to have much more on this story later here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Jim Bittermann is on the scene in Rome for us. Jim, thank you.

Mistakes that can ruin your credit. We're learning that millions of people may be paying the price for errors on their reports.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Suspects in custody in a multiple rape in a Mexican resort. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

What's the latest, Lisa? LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf.

In Acapulco, Mexican official also say they have five suspects in custody in connection with the alleged rapes of six Spanish tourists a week ago. The state attorney general has released no information about the suspects or where they are being held. The six rape victims were among 14 people robbed and terrorized by gunmen at a resort bungalow February 4th. Investigators are now looking for two more suspects and 50 investigators are on this case.

Well, did you find a mistake on your credit record? A study says if you did, you have a lot of company. The just released Federal Trade Commission report says as many as 42 million Americans have errors on their credit reports. Researchers did find that only 2.2 percent of those errors could actually impact someone's ability to get credit. But that still means some 10 million Americans are being erroneously denied credit or being stuck with higher interest rates.

And talk about this moment. Well, there's nothing like a little guy in a suit to brighten up a typically solemn event. Former Army Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha was at the White House to receive the Medal of Honor from President Obama. But you see right there, the gravity of the moment was lost on his young son Colin who climbed the podium, examined the lectern and played hide and seek with the guests in the audience.

All right. Eventually, a gentle military escort returned him to his seat with his mom. He did not look like he was ready to go. I think he kind of likes the spotlight himself.

BLITZER: Looks very handsome, very distinguished, little Colin.

SYLVESTER: And I love that suit. Yes, not quite ready to go. No, no, not quite ready to go to mom just yet.

BLITZER: His dad, Clint Romesha, a real, real American hero.

SYLVESTER: You see, I think there's mom. He wants to sit where the president's going to sit. That's right.

BLITZER: President later said that little Colin when he was in the Oval Office before the ceremony, he checked out every apple there. Took a bite out of those apples to make sure it was one he really, really wanted.

SYLVESTER: Just like a typical kid. You got to love it, Wolf.

BLITZER: God bless Colin.

President Obama addressed the nation tomorrow night. We're going to preview the State of the Union.

And a man many are calling an American hero is being laid to rest today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: In 2008, I had the opportunity to meet Pope Benedict XVI when he visited the United States. He came to the Catholic University of America, right here in Washington, D.C.

I was invited by Father David O'Connell who was then the president of Catholic University.

Father O'Connell is now a bishop. He's joining us live from his diocese of Trenton, New Jersey.

Bishop, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much for obviously inviting me to Catholic University to meet with Pope Benedict XVI. You remember that day, it was an incredible day for you, an incredible day for me. I'll never forget the honor that you bestowed on me. And of course, as someone who received an honorary degree from Catholic University, gave the commencement address, I feel very close to your university.

Just remind our viewers what happened on that day.

BISHOP DAVID O'CONNELL, DIOCESE OF TRENTON: Well, it was a great day. Probably the most memorable day of my life. I had invited the pope when he was a cardinal to come to Catholic University. He wasn't able to come. And so after his election as pope and his decision to come to the United States, he wrote and said one of the places he wanted to visit in addition to ground zero and the United Nations was the Catholic University of America.

So I was thrilled that he was able to come. It was such a beautiful day, as you remember, with all our thousands and thousands of students cheering him on, signs all over the place, Rock the Pope. People really loved it. And the pope really was very, very touched by the outpouring of love and affection for him.

BLITZER: All of us were thrilled to meet Pope Benedict XVI, especially my old friend from Buffalo, New York, the late Tim Russert of NBC News, who himself was Catholic. And remember how excited he was holding that holy Bible as he met with Pope Benedict XVI. All of us were excited but especially Tim. I'll never forget the look on his face, the stunned, how passionate and excited he was. Those were incredible days, I must say. Thank you for inviting us.

O'CONNELL: Oh, you're welcome. Did I ever tell you the story about Tim? Tim had written around to the cardinal and to he nuncio and all these other people asking for the opportunity to meet the pope and all of them said they didn't think it wasn't possible. And so I had the ten guests to invite and of course, I was friendly with Tim so he lucked out that day.

BLITZER: He certainly did. He was like a little boy there, I'll never forget, a little choir boy standing in front of Pope Benedict XVI. Didn't open his mouth. First time in my life I saw Tim Russert afraid to open his mouth and say anything to Pope Benedict XVI.

So let's talk about today. You wake up this morning, you hear the stunning news. What did you think? O'CONNELL: Well, I got a tap on my door by my secretary, Jason Parzinski. And he said, Bishop, the pope has resigned. And I thought I was dreaming. He said, it's all over the news. I got up and turned on CNN, and of course it was all over the news, the story. I was stunned like the rest of the world. I mean, I don't think anybody expected this announcement today.

In fact, I was talking with Cardinal Dolan last night and, in New York, and no indication of an expectation that this would happen. So it really was a shocking announcement.

BLITZER: You actually, I believe, correct me if I'm wrong, but you had a meeting scheduled with Pope Benedict?

O'CONNELL: Yes, I was invited to a private audience on March 6th of, you know, the coming year, March 6th, I was going to be in Rome for a meeting of the board of trustees of St. John's University. And I had been notified I would have a private audience with the Holy Father on March the 6th. Now that's all changed.

BLITZER: So walk us through the process and your understanding what happens. He steps down at the end of this month. They'll be a period whether -- will there be an acting pope? I mean, what happens before a new pope is elected?

O'CONNELL: Well, you know, this is just very unusual. It's almost a new experience for us. This hasn't happened for almost 700 years, since the last time a pope resigned I think was 1415, Pope Gregory, one of the Gregories. The pope has always died in office. And so we had a period of mourning and Mass and then the cardinals would gather from all over the world.

So he had a period of time that was just part and parcel of the process. We don't have that situation here. The pope has not died. The pope has resigned. Has left the office. And so there probably will not be a long period, what they call a (INAUDIBLE), what they call an empty chair. There probably won't be a long period before the conclave is summoned and the cardinals make their vote.

BLITZER: Pope Benedict XVI is, what, 85, almost 86 years old. He was 78 when he became the pontiff. Do you think it would be wise to select someone younger so someone would serve for a longer tenure?

O'CONNELL: Well, it's interesting, you know. In our lifetime, Pope Paul VI was in his 80s. Pope John Paul II was in his 80s when he died. And of course, Pope Benedict, as you said, he's 85, he's almost 86. You know, it depends, it depends. What the cardinals are looking for. What the cardinals are seeking in someone to take Pope Benedict's place.

You know, in my mind, we watched Pope John Paul become a gRandfather. Pope Benedict walked out on the world stage as a gRandfather. And was just an interesting, different experience of his fatherly qualities, as you know from having met him, you know the gentle kind way that he had. But, you know, I think that depends on what the college of cardinals is looking for. You know, Pope Benedict was a teacher. And he spent his pontificate, his papacyy, teaching. He taught well and with great clarity. So, it's a matter of preference of the college of cardinals and also, as we believe in the church, the working of the Holy Spirit.

BLITZER: We'll stay in very close touch with you, Bishop, thank you so much. Thanks for everything that you've done. Thanks for inviting me to Catholic University. Once again, I really appreciate it. And thanks for coming here to THE SITUATION ROOM.

O'CONNELL: Oh, it's great to be with you, Wolf. You take care. God bless.

BLITZER: God bless you as well. We're going to continue our coverage. The stunning news out of the Vatican today. Much more on that coming up later.

Other news we're following, including hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed by this massive tornado. We're going to talk to survivors who say one thing saved their lives.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A devoted husband, father and friend. Thousands are paying tribute to the slain ex-Navy SEAL at Cowboy Stadium. We're going to go there later this hour.

But right now, let's get to our "Strategy Session." Joining us now, Donna Brazile, our Democratic strategist, a CNN contributor. And Ana Navarro, Republican strategist, also a CNN contributor.

Let me start with you, Donna. The president is engaged in a major effort right now to try to get some serious gun control measures into law. He's going on Friday to Chicago. That's, there's been a plague of gun violence in Chicago, as you well know. He's presumably going to mention guns in his state of the union address. The family of the slain teenage girl would came to Washington for the inauguration, the first lady went to her funeral over the weekend. I guess the family will sit with Mrs. Obama up in the gallery tomorrow night.

Can he change the outcome as a result of what he might say tomorrow night? Because it's not looking great as far as really significant changes, legislative changes are concerned.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I think the president going to address gun safety issues tomorrow and perhaps put back on the table universal background checks as something that most reasonable people in this country agree upon.

The vice president has also made a big push, an initiative to get sheriffs and law enforcement officials. You know, Gabby Giffords will also be sitting in that audience tomorrow. Several members of Congress are inviting people who have been victims of gun violence in their local areas who also come and listen to the president.

But I think tomorrow night, the president is going to talk to the American people about the state of the economy, about job creation, about what it will take to get this economy strong and vibrant so we can put people back to work as well.

BLITZER: Do you think on guns, Ana, he can get any of these major initiatives through Congress?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think if he listens to Donna Brazile and hefocuses on something like background checks, he definitely will. I do hear a lot of Republicans telling me there is space to negotiate on that. They have willingness --

BLITZER: What about the magazines?

NAVARRO: I think that's a much tougher --

BLITZER: Assault-type weapons.

NAVARRO: But you know, look -- we just saw before coming on here another shooting, another tragedy. This is not going to stop. The drumbeat from this is not going to come from President Obama, it's not going to come from Congress. It's going to come from all these tragedies that do not cease happening so sadly.

And I think Republicans need to listen to that, and they need to come together, both, and come up with something. I think it's going to be universal background checks. I am not sure there's going to be much more than that.

BLITZER: Because as you know, Donna, there's a whole bunch of Democrats who are not happy about stricter assault-type weapons, legislation or magazines.

BLITZER: I'm from the South. I mean, I grew up with responsible gun owners. There are many -- not just Southern Democrats and Western Democrats who would like to see that preserved, the Second Amendment. But they still have concern. I mean, you've seen the senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, who said he wants to sit and work with Dianne Feinstein from California.

So before we, you know, figure out how we're going to resolve this, I think the Democrats will have to conference together and come with up some reasonable solutions.

NAVARRO: (INAUDIBLE) a very big agenda will put so many Democrats in a very precarious position.

BLITZER: That's what happened in '94, as a lot of us remember.

But let's move on and talk about Marco Rubio for a second. He's going to deliver the official Republican response in English and in Spanish. The first time someone will do that in Spanish.

But then there will be another response from Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, representing the Tea Party. He was on STATE OF THE UNION yesterday with Candy Crowley. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKYI see it as extra response. I don't see it as necessarily divisive. I won't say anything on there that necessarily is, like, oh, Marco Rubio is wrong. He and I don't always agree but the thing is this isn't about he and I, this is about the Tea Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: What do you think? Is this going to take away anything from Rubio, that shortly thereafter we'll hear from Rand Paul reflecting the Tea Party?

NAVARRO: I really don't think so. If you compare the attention that Marco Rubio's response is getting with what Rand Paul's response is getting, it's a completely different ball game. And you know what, let me tell you, it is a very risky platform, both for Rubio and for Paul. It is the toughest gig in politics, to follow a state of the union with all the pomp and circumstance. You're following the president of the United States, who just got a number of standing ovations, giving the biggest speech the year. It's not an easy gig. So, if he wants to take a shot at it, I don't thing it's competition. I think it's one more. And if he wants to address the specific concerns of the Tea Party, more power to him.

BLITZER: Very quickly.

BRAZILE: First of all, I think Marco Rubio is a Tea Party Republican. And his job is to help rebrand and reach out to moderates and independents. And Rand Paul is just going to remind the country that the Republican party is fractured and divided, and there's a civil war going on inside that party.

BLITZER: We'll see what happens tomorrow night. Donna, Ana, guys, thanks very much for coming in.

When we come back, we'll check in on what happened after that huge tornado ripped through parts of Mississippi yesterday. Look at that. Look at that funnel cloud. We're going to go to the scene, see some of the destruction

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Take a look at this. The largest most devastating of at least 15 tornadoes that tore across the Deep South. This one is in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. CNN's David Mattingly is on the scene for us. David, it looks awful. How they doing over there?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the tornado that touched down here where I'm standing was packing winds of 130 to 140-mile-per-hour winds and you can see what kind of damage it does. While today Mississippi residents are assessing the damage, they're doing so with a great sense of relief.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're just trees. Be careful.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Joan Stevens and her husband, Ray, survived the tornado that blackened the skies other Hattiesburg caught on amateur video. The funnel was one of several tornadoes to batter this part of Mississippi. The Stevens house is in pieces, but they made it out without a scratch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right here. Aggie was right here, our dog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just got her under me and I was laying on her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were just literally al right here on the floor and just covered up on each other.

MATTINGLY: It could have been so much worse for so many, 200 houses and 100 apartments were damaged or destroyed. In the immediate aftermath, there were no deaths. Only two were seriously injured. The Stevens credit warning sirens the city installed just two years ago.

JOAN STEVENS, TORNADO VICTIM: We had been watching television since we got home from church.

MATTINGLY (on camera): So you were ready for this.

JOAN STEVENS: We were ready as ready could be.

MATTINGLY: The Stevens said they had a matter of minutes from the time they first heard the alarm to when the storm actually hit. After, when they came out and saw all this damage, they realized that warning was just enough for people to take cover because when they started checking on their neighbors, no one on this street, in spite of all this damage, was hurt.

(voice-over): The National Weather Service says parts Hattiesburg had up to 30 minutes warning before the tornado touched down. City officials also say that timing of the storm was fortunate.

On a Sunday afternoon, the local high school was almost empty when it hit. And the University of Southern Mississippi, one historic building badly damaged, had fewer than usual students on campus because of a Mardi Gras holiday.

Still all across the tornado's path, there were countless close calls. Hattiesburg's mayor was one of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is seconds.

MATTINGLY (on camera): You were running for your life?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Literally for my life.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Mayor Johnny Dupree managed to get inside his house just in time. The hundred year old home and the neighborhood took a beating.

(on camera): Looking at all the damage, is there one thing that really, really hurts today?

MAYOR JOHNNY DUPREE, HATTIESBURG, MISSISSIPPI: Here?

MATTINGLY: Here, in your house?

DUPREE: No, because we can replace all this. No. Nothing hurts. No, not here. Nobody in Hattiesburg was killed, no fatalities. The rest of this can be replaced.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: And, yes, it can be replaced. So the order of the day, clear the roads and get the electricity restored to the 4,000 people who are still without power. And it hasn't been easy today, as you can see, it has been raining here, Wolf, all day long.

BLITZER: The destruction is awesome. The building right behind you looks awful. What is it?

MATTINGLY: This is an historic building on the campus here in Hattiesburg. That took full brunt of the tornado that came through here. Again, it is a historic building. No one was inside at the time. No one was hurt. Everyone talking about how soon they're going to start damage repair, get things put back together.

BLITZER: We wish all the folks there in Hattiesburg all the best. David Mattingly, thank you.

The former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle is remembered as an American hero. Thousands of people are paying tribute to him at a public memorial service at Dallas Cowboy Stadium. Kyle was gunned down by a fellow veteran he was actually trying to help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In times of war or uncertainty, there's a special breed of warrior ready to answer our nation's call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Legends never die. Chris Kyle is not gone. Chris Kyle is everywhere. He is the fabric of the freedom that blesses the people of this great nation.

TAYA KYLE, WIDOW OF CHRIS KYLE: I stand before you a broken woman that I am now and always will be, the wife of a man who is a warrior both on and off the battlefield. Kids, I will cherish the look on your dad's face exactly like the one here on this easel that lit up his face when you would both come running across the house just to take a flying leap into his arms.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you didn't know Chris, under his tough guy exterior, he was a kind, caring, humble and selfless man. He would give whatever he had or do whatever was necessary to help someone in need. Chris was also a proud husband and father. At home, he wasn't some super hero, he was just dad. And that's all he wanted to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that I will have to wait until my name is called before I see him again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: No running water, no working toilets, no power. It's not how passengers aboard a Carnival cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico thought their dream vacation would turn out. CNN's Sandra Endo is joining us now with the latest. What is the latest, Sandra.

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, more than 4,000 passengers and crew members on board a Carnival cruise ship were supposed to return home today, but now they aren't even expected to reach land until later in the week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ENDO (voice-over): Snapshots of a ruined vacation. This Carnival cruise ship adrift at sea, stuck in the Gulf of Mexico.

BRENT NUTT, HUSBAND OF CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER (via telephone): It's a big mess. There's no power. There are no toilets. There's no food. It's like a bunch of savages on there.

ENDO: That's how one husband says his wife described the situation when she called to tell him a fire knocked out the engine on board Sunday about 150 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

The fire broke out as the triumph was heading back to Galveston, Texas, after a four-day voyage to Cozumel. Carnival cruises says the emergency generator kicked on once the fire occurred, but half the ship's toilets and some elevators weren't working.

NUTT: She was crying all and everything and she just wants off of the ship. I mean, it's horrible. They're having to use the restroom in buckets and bags.

ENDO: Two sister ships restocked the triumph with extra food and drinks. Carnival says there's limited hot food and coffee for guests. A Coast Guard cutter and two tug boats met the ship Monday so the vessel could be towed to the nearest port, Progreso, Mexico.

GREGORY MAGEE JR., COMMANDER, USCG CUTTER VIGOROUS (via telephone): Right now, we believe everything here is safe and secure. The communications with the master has been open and honest.

ENDO: A similar engine failure happened just two years ago when Carnival's Splendor lost power and was adrift for days off the coast of Mexico. One passenger reflects on his experience.

MARQUIS HORACE, PASSENGER ON SPLENDOR, NOVEMBER 2010: Since it was a vacation, I feel like it was a waste of my time pretty much and money to save up for it and then actually go on a trip. I think that the worst part about this experience for me was the food was starting to spoil and it was just God-awful smells coming from their kitchen areas, God-awful smells coming from their bathrooms, overflowing toilets.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ENDO: As for the triumph, it's expected to make it to Progreso, Mexico, Wednesday. Carnival will fly all the passengers back to the United States and reimburse them for their original travel expenses. Carnival is also canceling the vessel's next two trips -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Sandra Endo, thank you.