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CNN SUNDAY MORNING

Spring Snow Storm Pushes East; 2 Teens Charged in Georgia Baby's Murder; Distracted While Driving; Car Lands on Roof; No Straight Weddings Allowed; Supreme Court Takes on Same Sex Marriage; Using Comedy

Aired March 24, 2013 - 08:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): From CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

Coming up -- spring may be here, so is the snow from Denver to Dayton. It seems like old man winter just doesn't want to let go.

She watched in horror as her infant was shot in the head. Now, this Georgia mother has a message for her son's accused killers.

SHERRY WEST, MOTHER OF SLAIN BABY: You killed an innocent human life. And that I hope you die for it.

PAUL: Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a message of his own for all you gun owners.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Background checks have nothing to do with taking guns away from anyone.

PAUL: The new TV ad hitting air waves tomorrow that he's behind.

And if you want to get hitched, don't come here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hope to be a witness to our own denomination.

PAUL: This North Carolina church says no more straight weddings until gays can say I do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Rise and shine. Sleepyhead Sunday is just waiting for you.

I'm Christi Paul. So glad to have your company. Eight o'clock here in the East.

Let's talk about what everybody's talking about today, the gridlocked interstates, the canceled flights, the hailstorms, the possible tornadoes. Welcome to Sunday.

I know it's supposed to be spring but a wicked winter storm is pushing through the Rockies and into the Midwest there, already slammed Colorado. Look at these pictures -- shutting down I-70, mind you. And take a look at this on I-25, flames engulfing a semitrailer that got caught in a whiteout near Denver.

Now, the system is pushing east into Missouri. We're going to show you some live video from Kansas City. And thank you to the folks who are driving this car right now. Please be careful. We want you to be safe more than anything. But you can see the several inches of snow on the ground predicted across the Ohio Valley and in the South, severe storms and possible tornadoes as I said. But thanks again to the crew there at KMBC in Kansas City, Missouri. They are slow going on the roads. But we appreciate seeing what you're seeing today.

Karen, joining us this morning is J. Marshall Shepherd. He's the president of the American Meteorological Society, and in the CNN severe weather center meteorologist Karen Maginnis.

So, Karen, I want to start with you. We just saw those pictures. Is that the thing people in the Midwest are going to see?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. We are watching it kind of progress slow but steady over the next 24 to 48 hours. Area of low pressure will trek -- remember this was over towards the Rockies yesterday. Now it moves across the plains and heads into the lower Ohio River Valley.

On the northern edge and on the back edge of this, that's where the snowfall's going to be, brief but at times heavy, blown by 25 to 40- mile-an-hour winds, maybe occasionally higher. That's what we're looking at now.

And then we kind of see that fizzle out, but there's a secondary area of low pressure for the mid-Atlantic and for New York and Washington, D.C. Yes, it leaves a little snow. Maybe for Washington, yes, you'll see just a light coating. But for New York, I think you might see just a little bit more than that.

For Kansas City, five to seven, those roads are very treacherous. You just saw that -- the live pictures coming out of that region, the visibility very low. St. Louis you could see areas that can expect six to 10 inches of snow. For the Alleghenies, the Poconos and spine of the Appalachians, certainly with elevation, you'll get more of that snowfall, between eight and 12 inches there.

And the forecast winds expected to come out of the North and Northwest pretty much between 20 and gusts to around 40 miles an hour.

So, Christi, we've got that, plus, the Southeast is seeing the effects of some of that warm moisture being brought up. So, for Florida, some strong thunderstorms, there's a tornado watch that goes into 11:00 a.m. and a severe thunderstorm watch for portions of Georgia, also extending into Alabama as well. And we are watching for the potential for severe weather for this afternoon.

So, a lot on our plate this Sunday morning.

PAUL: Yes, you're going to be a busy girl today. Karen Maginnis, thank you so much.

This moody weather can make for a messy Monday. I mean, think about getting on the roads for your commute tomorrow morning. Now, fortunately, for Colorado, the worst of the snowstorm has come and gone.

But let's take a better look at this, because this is what some of you might be seeing today. Folks there saw near whiteout conditions.

And that's where CNN's Casey Wian is braving the bitter wind -- Casey.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi, a nightmare for motorists in Colorado all day on Saturday. A hundred fifty-mile sections of Interstate 70 closed to the Kansas border for most of the day and also interstate 25 closed in both directions in the area south and north of Denver. Massive pileups caused authorities to close the roads.

We are at a rest stop off Interstate 25, between Colorado Springs and Pueblo, Colorado, and we are in the middle of a very serious storm. You can see the flags over here just being whipped by the wind. The snow is blowing very dramatically. It really hurts your face just to be standing out here in this snow.

Over here, you can see or you can't see Interstate 25. Normally the speed limit on the interstate is 75 miles an hour.

You can see as this vehicle goes by, he's going much slower. You can see on the other side of the interstate, vehicles heading south at a very slow rate of speed, perhaps 30 miles an hour or so.

For the past 20 miles we've been driving, we've seen a succession of accidents, multicar pileups, spinouts, traffic backed up for a half mile or so heading south because of the accident. We couldn't even pull over to shoot pictures of what had happened because it was just too dangerous. A very, very serious winter-type storm has hit Colorado in early spring.

Incredibly authorities report no fatalities despite all those pileups. The good news for Colorado, the weather is expected to clear up as the day progresses Sunday -- Christi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: All right. Casey, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

President of the American Meteorological Society, Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd is joining me now.

We're so glad to have your company. Thank you --

J. MARSHALL SHEPHERD, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY: Happy to be here.

PAUL: -- for being here to walk us through this mess that we are seeing.

I wanted to ask you first of all, of course, what sort of strange weather pattern are we seeing here?

SHEPHERD: Yes, I mean, it's springtime. I wore my spring colors to try to trick the atmosphere into thinking it's spring.

But what we're seeing here is something called arctic oscillation. The American public is familiar with El Nino, this is a similar type pattern. And because we have this large blocking high pressure system up over Greenland is allowing quite a bit of cold air to come into the eastern part of the United States. So, it's not unusual to have spring storms, but certainly this -- we've seen a lot of them this year.

PAUL: You have a great analogy of like pouring maple syrup and just coming down into our areas.

SHEPHERD: Absolutely. There's a big blocking high over Greenland.

PAUL: OK.

SHEPHERD: And cold air is dense like pancake syrup. So there's a roadblock there.

Because of this arctic oscillation pattern, this cold air can literally ooze into the United States. You'll see high pressure over here over in this area and a low pressure area the cold air is coming down and that's really setting the stage for these storms.

PAUL: OK. You mentioned it, the weather we're seeing is not matching the season. We are four days into spring.

SHEPHERD: That's right.

PAUL: Are we going to be seeing more of this? I'm wondering if there's any chance you can look into your kind of crystal ball and your maps and say, this is the last storm of the season? Or is it too unpredictable?

SHEPHERD: I'd be a very wealthy man if I could do that all the time. But one of the things -- we've got to break out of this arctic oscillation pattern. I mean, many people are familiar with the moon bounces kids play on them in this sort of inflatables, when you push down on one part of that inflatable, another part comes up.

And that's how our atmosphere works and right now, we're seeing those large ridges, and troughs, and that's causing the type of cold air pattern that can support these types of storms.

PAUL: OK. Dr. Shepherd, so good to have you with us. Thank you for the explainer.

SHEPHERD: Thank your having me. Absolutely.

PAUL: It's good to know although we still have no idea what's coming. We know it's unusual and we'll have to keep you posted.

Thank you so much.

SHEPHERD: Thank you.

PAUL: I want to get to some other news here now and start in Georgia where we are with a new recording of an eyewitness's frantic 911 phone call. This is another window into the shooting of the toddler in the town of Brunswick. Listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CALLER: It appears that her baby's been shot.

DISPATCHER: OK. Listen to me, ma'am. Is the baby breathing?

CALLER: I don't know. The baby is in a stroller. I just came out the door.

DISPATCHER: OK.

CALLER: Yes, she's trying to get the baby out now.

DISPATCHER: OK, hold on. Did you hear any shots in the area where it happened?

CALLER: Listen, the baby is shot.

DISPATCHER: Ma'am, listen to me. We've got the people en route to you. I have to ask you these questions. So, did you hear any shots in the area?

CALLER: Yes. I heard the shot.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

PAUL: So this man, 17-year-old DeMarquis Elkins along with a 14-year- old boy who police aren't naming obviously because of his age both charged with murder.

Nick Valencia is in Brunswick.

And I know you sat down yesterday with the baby's mom, Sherry West, and I keep thinking, I don't know how she's even getting in front of the camera. I mean, what was that like?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was so very sad. She invited us into her home. It was a very humble apartment in a duplex. She was packing up her belongings in trash bags.

The crib was still in the corner of the room. The car seat for little Antonio had a teddy bear in its place.

She's very paranoid right now. She's scared about living in Brunswick and plans on moving back to New Jersey where she has family. She's lost a lot of faith in humanity as well. And we talked about her 13-month-old Antonio and talked about what she missed most.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEST: I still think of my son walking over to me in the morning and putting his head on my lap, and on my shoulder, and me feeding him meals, and the fact that he was just learning to eat. And that he'll never say his first word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: Sherry West also lost another son. Back in 2008 her 18- year-old was stabbed to death trying to break up an altercation. She said she had just gotten to a point where she was emotionally stable enough to have another child only for something like this to happen. She tells us she's not sure if she can ever get over something like this -- Christi.

PAUL: Understandably. Your heart just breaks for this woman. And it makes a lot of people wonder what's going to happen with this investigation.

What do we know about these two teens? Because you think about a 17- year-old or a 14-year-old having the wherewithal to point a gun at an infant and pull the trigger?

VALENCIA: Yes, it's just incredible. DeMarquis Elkins, he's the older of the suspect, 17-years-old. We looked at his Facebook page and he claims to be part of the Bloods gang.

And we asked the local police officer Todd Rhodes (ph) and he said there's no gangs here. It's a bunch of wannabes and he's one of them.

About the 14-year-old we just don't have any information. He's a juvenile. His name's not being released though he is being charged and has been charged with first-degree murder. We're waiting on the date for an arraignment and also waiting to get more details about the two suspects.

PAUL: Hey, Nick, we're so grateful for the update. Thank you so much.

Nick Valencia for us there in Brunswick, Georgia.

VALENCIA: You bet.

PAUL: Well, Mayors Against Illegal guns have bought up $12 million worth of air time. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg behind a new round of ads aimed at gun control. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad taught me to hunt. And I'll teach my kids. I've owned a gun all my life. And I'll fight for my right to keep it. Background checks have nothing to do with taking guns away from anyone. Closing loopholes will stop criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying guns. That protects my rights and my family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: This effort is the group's most expensive yet to influence the debate over gun control. Thursday, more than 100 demonstrations and special events are planned in support of universal background checks.

The ads, by the way, start running in 13 states on Tuesday.

You know, if you played Powerball in New Jersey, you could be -- I guess I should say, one lucky duck. Check your tickets because someone there just got stinking rich.

Also ahead, we're going to take you to the racetrack where pro drivers are warning others about the dangers of texting while driving.

And later, a pastor tells us why his church is refusing to perform weddings of any kind.

You're watching CNN SUNDAY MORNING. We're so glad you're here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: New Jersey Powerball players, look at your tickets. One lucky ticket has won the entire $338 million jackpot in last night's drawing.

That's not the only winner out there though. We should tell you that 13 other tickets are worth $1 million. Those tickets matched every number except the final power ball number. The numbers for you again, just in case you have your ticket handy: 17, 29, 31, 52, 53, 31.

Congratulations to any of you who are looking at your ticket and jumping up and downright now.

All righty. Let's move onto safety on the highways here. A new report by the CDC reveals distracted driving has increased on our roads particularly among teens. Now, car wrecks like this one we're going to show you here, look at that. Can't even tell there was a car at one point? That's where a teen was texting while driving. And it's such a grim reminder of the dangers.

Now, Mazda Motor Sports has launched a campaign using young professional race car drivers to warn teens about those dangers. And our Victor Blackwell shows us how it works.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, drivers! Come get in line over here, please!

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Race car drivers on a race track. No big surprise. What might surprise you is that the favorite to win this race is just 17-years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you have half the field this side, half the field this size.

BLACKWELL: He is Tristan Nunez from Boca Raton, Florida. He started racing go-carts at 13.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just do what you know.

BLACKWELL: And then graduated to this at 15, before he was licensed to drive through his neighborhood.

TRISTAN NUNEZ, TEEN RACECAR DRIVER: My mom and myself actually feel safer driving on a race track with professional drivers than driving on the regular roads with people who have no idea what they are doing.

BLACKWELL: He revs up to above 150 miles per hour around this track.

(on camera): At that speed, there can be any little distraction.

NUNEZ: Yes.

BLACKWELL: It can be -- an injury or it could be death.

NUNEZ: Fatal.

BLACKWELL (voice over): Actually, that can happen at any speed.

Before the start of the 2012racing season, a little distraction off the track nearly created a major problem.

NUNEZ: I was with my mom in the car, and we almost got into accident because she was Facebooking, emailing, whatever. Distracted.

DIANE NUNEZ, MOTHER: We almost reared-ended somebody, and he, you know, that's when we really - it really hit us, you know, and he is like, mom, you've got to put the phone down.

BLACKWELL: So Tristan and his mom, Diane Nunez had an idea: to inspire other people, especially young people to put the phone down, by branding his car the "don't text and drive car."

DIANE NUNEZ: And we put all over the car, and put in on a suit and then put it on the Web site and just took off.

BLACKWELL (on camera): And you've got the bracelet because when they raise up there, their hand --

NUNEZ: Their hand --

BLACKWELL: -- with the phone.

NUNEZ: With the phone, they see it, exactly.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

NUNEZ: So, I mean -- it just serves as a constant reminder not to do it.

BLACKWELL (voice over): Hundreds of teens have pledged to not text and drive, some had even signed Tristan's car as part of the pledge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just distracting. It's -- you get caught up in another world, completely separate from what you are trying to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is not really a lot of teenage race car drivers out there, so it was - it was definitely good for them to go on to a teenager's car.

DIANE NUNEZ: I know we are not going to stop it, but at least it's going to bring more awareness to people.

BLACKWELL: Tristan was the big winner on this day at Road Atlanta (ph).

NUNEZ: I would be here.

BLACKWELL: And he tells teens to look up to him. The key to his success on the track is the same key to staying safe on the road.

NUNEZ: You have to have 100 percent focus, you can't lose your focus for any --any reason at all.

BLACKWELL (on camera): Mazda is also working with the project called Yellow Light. It grants scholarships to teenagers who produce the best 60-second public service announcement against distracted driving. Go to projectyellowlight.com for details -- Christie.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: All right. Thank you so much, Victor Blackwell for us there.

After nearly two and a half years has Tiger Woods finally made it back to the top of his game? He's pretty close.

Plus, another upsetting day in the NCAA tourney. Your March Madness update, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Health expert -- I don't know if you've heard about this. Good morning to you, by the way. Should say good morning to you as we kick off 8:23 here in case you haven't looked at the clock lately and need to be somewhere.

Hey, health expert and body building icon Joe Weider died of heart failure this weekend. He was 93. He was a bodybuilder himself of course and helped really change how the world looked at fitness creating top fitness competitions like Mr. Olympia and publishing magazines such as "Shape," "Men's Fitness". He also brought an unnamed Austrian to the United States, oh, yes, you know, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and helped the future movie star break into the film business.

All right. Let's talk about sports and March Madness, if you dare.

Are you looking at your, you know, your brackets like this today and just cursing? Welcome to the club cause your brackets are probably all busted up.

Andy Scholes is joining us to kind of probably reminisce with you because I know you, Andy, your brackets aren't looking as good.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: It's not looking as good, just because, you know, like many people, I picked some of the high seeds. And so far, in this year's tournament it's been upset city.

In the second round, we saw a two and three seed go down. And then last night, our first number one seed bit the dust as Gonzaga lost to Wichita State. Gonzaga is considered by many the weakest of the top seeds in the tournament and unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they were unable to prove their doubters wrong. Gonzaga actually led by eight with about 12 minutes to go, but the shockers behind a barrage of three-pointers mounted a comeback to knock off the Bulldogs.

With the loss, Gonzaga becomes the 15th atop the polls and lose in the round of 32.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK FEW, GONZAGA HEAD COACH: It's a tough, tough, tough way to end a fabulous season, but Wichita State deserves a ton of credit.

ELIAS HARRIS, GONZAGA SENIOR: It's over now. It hurts, but it's life I guess.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Maybe the best game of the tournament so far took place last night between third seed Marquette and sixth seed Butler. This went back and forth all night. Marquette was up by two with about three seconds to go but turning the ball over here throwing it out of bounds. Butler would get one last shot but the Bulldogs unable to get a good look on this last possession. The Golden Eagles hold on for the win to advance to the sweet 16 for the third straight year.

To see Twitter's reaction to this game and every game throughout the tournament head to bleacherreport.com.

After a rough second round, Tiger Woods came roaring back yesterday to take the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Tiger who was looking for a record eighth win at Bay Hill has a two-shot lead over three others heading into today's final round. If Tiger holds onto win, he will regain the world's number one ranking for the first time since October of 2010.

And, Christi, all eyes on the look out for his new Facebook official girlfriend Lindsey Vonn. She's still recovering from the ACL injury. But who knows, maybe if tiger wins, she'll greet him on the 18th green. PAUL: Yes, you can't talk about Tiger without talking about his personal life. Somewhere along the line, it always comes into play. Andy, thank you so much.

SCHOLES: You're welcome.

PAUL: Hey, speaking of surprises with your brackets, there's also some surprising spring snowstorms and we're talking pretty darn severe. Look at the left hand side of your screen, because it might be heading your way. A live weather report coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Hey, it's 8:30. Where have you been? We've been waiting for you on this Sunday morning. I'm so glad to have you here. I'm Christi Paul. Bottom of the hour as I've said now.

And let me tell you about this wicked winter storm that's shoving its way through the Midwest. It's supposed to be spring, right? But this system has already slammed Colorado where it shut down two interstates. Look at those pictures we got from there.

Now it's pushing east into Missouri and the Ohio Valley where several inches of snow could fall today. That's Kansas City, Missouri, a live shot right now of some of our friends there. Oh, that's what you can expect. Oh, there it is. There's the live shot as they're driving on the roads and obviously not driving fast if that gives you any indication of the conditions. There are also some pretty volatile storms predicted across the south.

So let's get meteorologist Karen Maginnis who's in the CNN Severe Weather Center in with us. We're looking at those pictures and I'm wondering where it's headed. And if what we're seeing is going to dissipate at all or if that's what people are saying, all right, I'm just going to get ready for it.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, I think at least in the short-term the next five to six hours right around Kansas City, Central Missouri and St. Louis. St. Louis a little bit longer in the day -- this is how it's going to be. And we have reports of thunder snow.

Now, meteorologists get all excited about it. That means it's pretty dynamic. I watched this probably 15 or 20 minutes ago. The vehicle that -- the person who is driving for KMBC there in Kansas City, Missouri they were pulled over on the side and the roads were really bad at that point. I don't know if they switched roads or highways or what, but the road conditions there had really deteriorated.

Here's why -- because of this fairly dynamic weather system. A small, narrow but very impactful line of snow is going to materialize over the next 12 hours through the central plains. Kansas City, St. Louis, extending over towards Indianapolis and Evansville, Indiana -- five, seven, six to ten inches of snowfall.

But as we get further towards the east in through the Appalachians and for the Poconos and into the Allegheny mountains, eight to 12 inches. So it's not going to be insignificant for those folks. The higher up and more elevations going to squeeze out that moisture in the form of snowfall as it treks across the Ohio River Valley then a secondary area of low pressure moves across the mid-Atlantic. So you're wondering New York, Washington, Baltimore, what can we expect?

Well, for New York and Washington, this is fairly insignificant in that it's just more troublesome than anything else. It was most impactful across Colorado. So the more it's moved toward the east, still have winter storm warnings out, gusty winds. And Christi some of these winds are gusting up around 40 miles an hour now. That will continue through the afternoon.

So we still got to slog through the afternoon and maybe this weekend just kind of a wash if you will.

PAUL: Yes. Good luck to the folks on the Monday morning commute, too. Hopefully it will really kind of desensitized by that point. Thank you so much, I appreciate it -- Karen.

Military officials I want to tell you in Virginia have identified the Quantico Marine Base gunman and both victims now. So 19-year-old Sara Castromata from Oakley California and 23-year-old Jacob Wooley from Guntown, Mississippi are the two we've been talking about both shot and killed last Thursday on the Marine Corps base in Quantico.

Authorities believe 25-year-old Eusebio Lopez shot both young Marines before killing himself. That shooting of course still under investigation.

"We're going to kill you", that's a quote, the message from the Pakistani Taliban who have vowed to assassinate former President Pervez Musharraf now that he's returned. Musharraf who been in self- imposed exile for five years since resigning wants to lead his new party in this May's election, so if death threats aren't enough, the government itself plans to try him for treason. Musharraf admits the homecoming is quote, "risky".

Secretary of State John Kerry making an unannounced stop while on his first trip overseas. He landed in Baghdad just a couple of hours ago. Now while he's in the country we know he'll be meeting with government officials including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. And he'll urge al-Maliki to put a stop Iranian aircraft carrying material to east Syrian government.

All right, and you know you have to wonder how much they're going to be able to get done there. But we'll obviously keep you posted on that.

Our troops come home from war many of them facing a new battle as veterans waiting for benefits. So what's being done? We want to find out now with STATE OF THE UNION host Candy Crowley. She has an exclusive interview with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki today. What -- what do you think, Candy, in talking to him is his biggest challenge? CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": Paper. As crazy as that sounds, the fact is that these claims -- and remember that by the end -- end of this month the VA thinks it will have about a million pending new disability benefit applications. Ok, so that's a million pending cases sitting at the VA. Most of this is done by paper. There are some amazing video this week of one claim center where the building is in danger of collapsing because there's so much paperwork.

So the V.A. has been trying now for five years -- let's remember we've had an administration for five years that has pledged help for veterans, immediate help for veterans including the same VA Secretary has said we're going to -- we're going to computerize this because it will make it easier and it's going to be faster because the complaint from veterans is they have to wait so long. The -- about two-thirds of those million that we're talking about have been sitting around for more than 125 days.

So the backlog is tremendous. There are a lot of folks on Capitol Hill or at least some who have voiced real concern that the VA actually can get the computerization of the records done by the end of the year. And Secretary Shinseki says they can, but in the meantime there are myriad of problems in local offices, that kind of thing, but it is the paperwork that really seems to be bogging them down.

There also seems to be a problem with manpower even though the budget is increased at the VA, they are -- more people have been added to the process. There still does not seem -- do not seem to be enough people to take care of the influx of first of all some -- some Vietnam veterans who are now eligible for kind of broader benefits if they've been affected by Agent Orange in addition to the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans coming out.

So it has a feeling of an overwhelmed agency.

PAUL: All right, Candy Crowley, looking forward to that interview with you. Thank you so much.

And keep it here for "STATE OF THE UNION". It starts at the top of the hour 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Talk about a wrong turn. In California an elderly driver loses control of his car and ends up on a roof. Melissa McBride of CNN affiliate KABC fills us in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GALINA WYNN, HUSBAND DRIVING CAR THAT LANDED ON ROOF: I was so scared and I thought it will be the end because it was very bad.

MELISSA MCBRIDE, REPORTER, KABC: Galina Wynn and her husband were in this Cadillac when it went airborne and landed on a neighbor's house. She says they came down the hill and couldn't stop as they rounded the corner.

WYNN: As soon as we hit the corner, the air bags deployed and I don't even see where we're going from there because the view was obscured and I just heard that we stopped.

MCBRIDE: Wynn says when she opens the door she saw the edge of the roof the back end of the car came rest on the edge of retaining wall. Paul Harrison who lives down the street heard the accident.

PAUL HARRISON, NEIGHBOR, HEARD CARD LAND ON ROOF: It was just smash, crash, boom. And my neighbor Brian Nelson who is walking his dog says, "Paul quick, I think there's been an accident."

MCBRIDE: He grabbed a ladder and helped the Wynns off the roof. One man was inside the house when the crash happened, but he wasn't injured.

CHIEF RON GULLI, GLENDALE FIRE BATTALION: There was one person inside the house but not in the area of the -- where the car landed.

MCBRIDE: In order to remove the car, the fire department called for a crane to do the heavy lifting. The Caddy has major damage, but remarkably the roof needs only minor repairs.

WYNN: My neck is pulled and my back is hurting, but I don't think I broke anything. And I consider to be myself and my husband very, very lucky.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Good thing that retaining wall was there to stop the car for heaven sakes. Thank you Melissa McBride our affiliate for KABC in Los Angeles for bringing us up to speed there.

A North Carolina church takes a bold stand by refusing to perform any weddings. And you're going to hear why directly from the pastor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Good Sunday morning to you.

This morning Pope Francis is celebrating Palm Sunday with millions of Catholics around the globe. This of course, the day that kicks off holy week for Christians. Remember Easter is next Sunday -- kind of crept up on us, didn't it? Today celebrates Jesus' return to Jerusalem before his death and resurrection a week later.

Now when Benedict XVI resigned, the Vatican wanted to act quickly of course to replace him to ensure a new pope would be in place by Easter. And I want to show you a quick picture here that we got of Pope Francis as he was making his way through Vatican City there. Isn't that just the sweetest picture of these people holding this man who just wants to be touched by Pope Francis? That's just moving.

So I wanted to share that with you today.

For today's "Faces of Faith" we're talking about a church in North Carolina that's refusing to marry any couple until same sex marriage is legal. Now, remember here not only is it illegal in North Carolina, but voters approved making marriage strictly between one man and one woman in the state constitution last year. The church we're talking about is a United Methodist Church.

The denomination does not allow for same sex marriages, but CNN's Christine Romans spoke to the Pastor Kelly Carpenter and asked him if this controversial move has upset anyone in his church.

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REV. KELLY CARPENTER, SENIOR PASTOR, GREENT STREET METHODIST CHURCH: The congregation has been unusually unified. We have heard lots of support all through the congregation. The leadership council is around 18 members and all of those 18 members voted unanimously for this statement.

And so we are an unusual congregation. We have a number of gay and lesbian members. Probably a quarter of our members on Sunday morning are probably LGBT. We have a number of couples in our church that have been together for a long time. And -- and their loving relationships has been an example to all of our members in our congregation.

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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What are you hoping to achieve? Are you hoping to make a statement for -- for both Methodists and the country as a whole? What do you hope to achieve from this?

CARPENTER: Well, I think that we hope to be a witness to our own denomination. We know that in our denomination we have great statements wanting to be in ministry with lesbian and gay people. And that's a call that all of our churches are called to. But all too often that welcome that we say that we are about in our church to welcoming LGBT people, that is not explicit in our congregations and we have been public about that.

We're part of a reconciling ministries network, which is a group that works for greater inclusion in the United Methodist Church. And we hope that this will be an example of one way in which a church can stand in solidarity with both gay and lesbian couples.

ROMANS: And as you point out in other Christian denominations, Protestant denominations as well they are reconciling in Christ or reconciling congregations. Congregations like yours who decide they are going to take a particular stance on this issue that is different from the national leadership of their church.

So within a lot of Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist churches there is this big discussion going on. And in some of these churches like yours, they're doing relationship lessons for couples. Explain that to me.

CARPENTER: Yes. So a marriage ceremony as we understand it is the one in which rings are exchanged, vows are exchanged, pronouncement of the couple. And those are the things that we can avoid in a ceremony and do a service of relationship blessing. So we've done one of those at Green Street. And we're certainly going to be offering those to both straight and gay couples. ROMANS: You know what's interesting and I wanted to get your thoughts on this because when you hear people talk about this debate and they talk about religion and the debate of same sex marriage, a lot of people the knee-jerk reaction is the Bible condemns this, the Bible condemns this. What do you say to that?

CARPENTER: Well, certainly if you look for the witness of scripture you're not going to find anything about gay marriage. You're going to certainly see scattered passages about homosexuality. It certainly doesn't condone homosexuality and we're not arguing that but because scripture is silent on long-term monogamous between same sex couples, that silence we need to understand it.

The Bible says as much about gay marriage as it does about the Internet. And we are living in a different time. And our church is a witness to couples that are very powerfully in love with each other and are witnessing in their faith. One of the things we say in the wedding ceremony in the United Methodist liturgy is that the couple creates a new ministry for the church.

Well, our congregation has been blessed by the witness of gay and lesbian couples who have been in those long-term relationships who have a deep commitment that it's about love, it's not about other things that people want to raise up around issues with scripture.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: And thanks again to Kelly Carpenter, senior pastor there at the Green Street Methodist Church in North Carolina. For more stories on faith, just be sure to check out our belief blog at cnn.com/belief.

Well, money, inheritance, death, kids, health benefits, all of these things are affected by the Defense of Marriage Act. The Supreme Court is taking that up on Wednesday. And next our Paul Steinhauser gives us a preview.

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PAUL: Well, you know, people have already started lining up outside the Supreme Court this weekend because they want to be there as the court takes on two huge cases dealing with same sex marriage. Paul Steinhauser has more for us. Good morning, Paul.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Good morning, Christi. Same sex marriage will be in the political spotlight this week as the Supreme Court hears two high-profile cases involving the hot-button social issue. A week ago Republican senator Rob Portman of Ohio changed his mind on the subject. Here's what he told our Dana Bash.

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ROB PORTMAN (R-OH), FORMER SENATOR: My son came to Jane, my wife and I, told us that he was gay. And that launched an interesting process for me, which was kind of rethinking my position. Talking to my pastor and other religious leaders and going through a process of at the end changing my position on the issue. I now believe that people ought to have the right to get married.

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STEINHAUSER: And earlier this week Hillary Clinton announced her support of same sex marriage. So what do you think? According to our CNN/ORC poll conducted just last week and a majority support same sex marriages and that number's been on the rise over the past three years.

But our survey indicated a wide partisan divide with Democrats and Independents supportive and Republicans oppose. And there's a wide generational divide as well with most younger people, but only a minority of seniors support same sex marriage.

Of course, when it comes to the two cases in front of the Supreme Court, the only votes that matter in the end are those of the nine justices -- Christi.

PAUL: All right. Paul Steinhauser, thank you so much.

And we're going to be right back.

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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Earlier today I went shopping at some stores in Midtown. I understand governor Romney went shopping for some stores in Midtown.

It's great to be here this evening in the vast magnificent Hilton ballroom, or what Mitt Romney would call a little fixer- fixer-upper.

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PAUL: Come on, you've got to admit, no matter what side of the line you sit on, they're pretty funny. Those are the more than just funny lines though here when we're listening to this.

My guest, comedian Dean Obeidallah, wrote an op-ed for cnn.com on Obama's, quote, "weaponized wit", as he calls it. Now, Obama certainly didn't invent the political jab, people, we know that. But Dean says the President has taken the art form to a whole other level using it to take on rivals. Names like Mitt Romney, Donald Trump,

Dean's live for us in New York. Ok. So Dean, I mean what is it? Why do you think Obama's become such a good attack comic?

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: I think it's because we've grown up in a different generation. I mean, let's be honest, Presidents in the past have used comedy more for self-deprecating humor. You know, I watched a lot of the White House Correspondents in this for years past, read transcripts. You know, Reagan made fun of his age. Clinton made fun of himself being chubby. Bush made fun of his greatest weakness, speaking English. Now you have Obama turning the table a bit. He makes fun of himself, but he uses comedy like a comedian, like a weapon. It's very effective.

PAUL: Yes, but I mean look, other presidents have had some pretty good lines of their own. In fact here's George W. Bush at the 2008 Correspondents' Dinner poking fun of then presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and now President Obama.

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GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Next year a new president will be standing up here. I have to say I'm kind of surprised we don't have more presidential candidates here tonight, like any. Senator McCain's not here, he probably wanted to distance himself from me a little bit. You know, he's not alone. Jenna's moving out too.

The two Democratic candidates aren't here either. Senator Clinton couldn't get into the building because of sniper fire and Senator Obama's at church.

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PAUL: All right. How is that any different than Obama, Dean? Really.

OBEIDALLAH: Where did you find that, Christi? That ruins my entire thesis of my article. I can't believe you would find that and ruin it. It's true, some presidents and I read about them and I even Reagan used a few jokes sometimes about his enemies -- or his rivals I should say, not his enemies.

But overwhelmingly look what Obama did, especially 2011 Correspondents' Dinner Donald Trump's there. He didn't do one joke, he did three jokes -- very biting cutting jokes, mocking Trump's temperament, his pursuit of the birther and his lack of ability to truly be a president. He even attacked Matt Damon, an actor. President Obama took on an actor for mocking him. You don't see that.

And this week President Obama arrives in the Middle East, his first thing is "I'm just happy to be away from Congress." And John Boehner was on Jake Tapper's show and said "I'd rather be heckled than ignored." He knew exactly who he was attacking. It's the now that their setting.

PAUL: All right. Hey Dean, I'm sorry we ran out of time. It's always so good to have you here. Dean Obeidallah. Thank you, sir.

OBEIDALLAH: Thank you Christi.

PAUL: Sure. Have a great weekend.

Thank you for watching us today; so glad to have your company. "STATE OF THE UNION: with Candy Crowley starts right now for you.